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HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL 



HISTORY 



OF THE 



PEOPLE OF ISRAEL 



TILL THE TIME OF KING DAVID 



BY 

ERNEST RENAN 



LONDON: CHAPMAN AND HALL 

Limited 

1888 




/) Sf^ i 



The Preface and Chaps. I. to XIII. translated by C. B. Pitman 

,, XIV. to end ,, „ D. Bingham 



CALL NUMBER 



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IV CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VII. 

PAOB 

Thb Hebrew or Terachite Group 76 



CHAPTER VIII. 
The Beki-Jacob, or Beni-Israel 88 

CHAPTER IX. 
Religion of the Beni-Israel 99 

CHAPTER X. 
The Beni-Ibrael in Egtft 113 



CHAPTER XL 
Influence of 'Egypt upon Israel 121 



CHAPTER XII. 
Exodus of Israel 131 



CHAPTER XIII. 
Israel in the Desert of Pharan 141 



CHAPTER XIV. 
Sinai 167 

CHAPTER XV. 
Journeying towards Canaan 171 



CONTENTS. 



Book II. 

THE BENI-ISRAEL AS FIXED TRIBES^ FROM THE OCCU- 
PATION OF THE COUNTRY OF CANAAN TO THE DE- 
FINITIVE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF 
DAVID, 

CHAPTER I. 

PAOI 

The Beni-Israsl beyond the Dead Sea and the Jordan . 179 

CHAPTER II. 
The Conquest of the Region betond Jordan . . . 188 

CHAPTER III. 

JlTDAH AND BENJAMIN 200 

CHAPTER IV. 
The Conquest of Mount Ephbaim and the North . 207 

CHAPTER V. 
Development of Materialist Iahyehism .... 218 

CHAPTER VI. 
The Obacle of Iahveh 228 

CHAPTER VII. 
The Judges 241 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Deborah 253 

CHAPTER IX. 
First Attempts at Royalty. — Qideon, Abimelech . • 259 



I 

I 

! 



▼i CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER X. 

rkom 
QlLEADITE LEOEND& — JePHTHAH 273 



CHAPTER XT. 
The Danites.— Myth of Samhox 281 

CHAPTER XII. 
The Civil Wab8 of the Tribes 289 

CHAPTER XIII. 

"^ pb00re88 of the religious and political organisation of 

Samuel 301 

CHAPTER XIV. 

I 

' -^Institution of Royalty 314 

; CHAPTER XV. 

Rbion of Saul 322 

i CHAPTER XVI. 

David's Early Life.— Death of Saul 331 



CHAPTER XVII. 

ISH-BOSHETH SUCCEEDS SaUL. — DaVID KINO OF HeBRON 350 



• 



CHAPTER XVIIl. 
David King of Jerusalem 357 




I 



For a philosophic mind, that is to aay for one en- 
grossed in tlie origin of things, there are not more 
than three histories of real interest in the past of 
humanity ; Greek history, the history of Israel, and 
Eoman history. These three histories combined con- 
stitute what may be called the history of civilisation, 
civilisation being the result of the alternate collabo- 
ration of Greece, Judea, and Rome. Greece in my 
opinion has an exceptional past, for she founded, in 
the fullest sense of the word, rational and progressive 
humanity. Our science, our arts, our literature, our 
philosophy, our moral code, our political code, our 
strategy, our diplomacy, our maritime and interna- 
tional law, are of Greek origin. The framework of 
human culture created by Greece is susceptible of 
indefinite enlargement, but it is complete in its several 
parts. Progress will consist in constantly developing 
what Greece has conceived, in executing the designs 
which she has, so to speak, traced out for us. 

Greece had only one thing wanting in the circle of 
her moral and intellectual activity, but this was an 
important void ; she despised the humble and did not 
feel the need of a just God. Her philosophers, while 

VOL. I. B 



di-eaming of the immortality of the soul, were tolerant 
towards tte iniquities of this world. Her religions 
were merely elegant municipal playthings ; the idea 
of a universal religion never occurred to her. The 
ardent genius of a small tribe established in an out- 
landish comer of Syria seemed created to supply this 
void in the Hellenic intellect. Israel never stood 
quietly by to see the world so badly govenied, under 
the authority of a God reputed to be just. Her sages 
hmned with auger over the abuses of the world, A 
bad man, dying old, rich, and at ease, kindled their 
fury, and the prophets in the ninth ecntmy B.C. 
elevated this idea to the height of a dogma. The 
Israelitish prophets were impetuous writers such as 
we of the present day should denounce as socialists and 
anai'chists. They were fanatics in the cause of social 
justice, and loudly proclaimed that if the world was 
not just, or capable of becoming so, it had better be 
destroyed — a view which, if utterly -nrong, was very 
fertile in results, for, like all the doctrines of despair, 
Bueh as the Russian nihilism of the present day, it led 
to deeds of heroism and brought about a grand 
awakening of the forces of humanity. The founders 
of Christianity, who were the direct successors of the 
prophets, spent their strength in an incessant call for 
the end of the world, aud, strange to say, did in reality 
transform the world. Through Jesus, the apostles, 
and the second generation of Christians, there was 
founded a religion evolved from Judaism, which three 
centuries later imposed itself upon the leading races of 



J 



PREFACE, ix 

humanity, and took the place of the petty patriotic 
playthings of ancient cities. With the churches, 
which were merely synagogues opened to the uncir- 
cumcised, was bom an idea of popular association 
which is in striking contrast with the democracy of 
the Greek cities. Christianity, in a word, becomes in 
history a8 important an element as the liberal ration- 
alism of the Greeks, though in some respects less 
assured of duration. The tendency which leads the 
nineteenth century to secularise everything, to make 
a host of things lay instead of ecclesiastical, is a 
reaction against Christianity ; but even supposing that 
it attains its end, Christianity will leave an imperish- 
able trace of its existence. Liberalism will no longer 
have the monopoly of the government of the world. 
England and America will long preserve the vestiges 
of Biblical influence, and with us in France, the social- 
ists, who are, unknown to themselves, the disciples 
of the prophets, will always have an appreciable 
influence upon a rational system of policy. 

The great creations of Greece and Judea will not 
have had the conquest of the world all to themselves. 
The world, before it was ready to accept Hellenism 
and Christianity, had to be prepared and made smooth, 
so to speak, for centuries beforehand. A great human- 
izing force had to be created — a force powerful enough 
to beat down the obstacles which local patriotism 
offered to the idealistic propaganda of Greece and 
Judea. Eome fulfilled this extraordinary function. 
Kome, by prodigies of civic virtue, created the force 

b2 



of the world, and this force in reality served to pro- 
pagate the work of Greece and the work of Jiidea, 
that ia to say, civilisation. Force is not a pleasant 
thing to contemplate, and the recollections of Eome 
will never have the powerful attraction of the affairs 
of Greece and of Israel ; but Eoman history ia none 
tho less part and parcel of these histories, which are 
the pivot of all the rest, and which we may call pro- 
vidential, inasmuch as they have their appointed 
place on a plan which is elevated above the chopa 
and changes of daily life. I say providential, not 
miraculous. Everything, in the progress of humanity, 
issues from one single principle, at once natural and 
ideal. If there is such a thing as one miraculous 
history, there are at least three. The Jewish history, 
which claims to have the monopoly of miracles, is not 
a whit more extraordinary than Greek history. If 
supernatural intervention is the sole explanation of 
the one, so it must be of the other. I will even add 
that, in my opinion, the greatest miracle on record 
is Greece herself. The simultaneous apparition 
in the Greek race of all that which goes to compose 
the honour and tho pride of the human intellect 
impresses mo far more than the passage of the 
Ked Sea or of the Jordan. Happy will be tho man 
who shall, at the age of sixty, write this history con 
anioi'e, after having spent his whole life in the 
study of the works which so many learned schools 
have devoted to it. He will have for his recom- 
pense the greatest joy which man can taste, that of 



PREFACE. 



following up the evolutions of life in the very centre 
of the divine egg within which life first began to 
palpitate. And yet does it follow that, because I 
envy the future historian of the genius of Greece, I 
regret the Nazarite's vow which attached me early in 
life to the Jewish and Chiistian problem ? Assuredly 
not. The Jewish and Christiau histories have been the 
delight of eighteen centuries, and although they arc 
now half vanquished by Greek rationalism, they are 
extraordinarily effective in the amelioration of morals. 
The Bible in its various transformations is, whatever 
may be said, the great book of cousolation for human- 
ity. It is by no meaus impossible that the world, 
tired out by the constant bankruptcy of liberalism, 
will once more become Jewish and Christian. It 
will be then that a disinterested history of these 
two great creeds will be of value, for the period 
when impartial studies upon the past of humanity 
will have arrived and may not last very long. The 
taste for history is the most aristocratic of tastes ; so 
it ruua some risks. 

In order to he quite consistent in carrying out 
the plan which I formed forty years ago of writing 
the Histari/ of the Origin of Christianity I ought 
to have commenced with the present volume. The 
origin of Chi-istianity dates from the major prophets, 
who introduced moral ethics into religion about 850 
B.C. ; the prophecies of the ninth century have them- 
selves their root in the ancient ideal of patriarchal 
life — an ideal partly created by the imagination, but 



one which had been a. reality in the distant past of the 
tribe of Israel. My reason for not observing this 
chronological order, and for first plunging into the 
middle of my subject with my Life of Jesus was 
that human life is uncertain, and that I was particu- 
larly desirous of wiiting about the first century and a 
half of Christianity. And then, as I am fain to 
admit, Jesus had a great attraction for me. The dream 
of a kingdom of God, which would be governed by the 
law of love and mutual self-saciifice, had always pos- 
sessed a great charm for me. As soon as I found that 
I should probably be given the time to deal with the 
history of Israel as I had dealt with the history of Jesus, 
of the Apostles, of St. Paul, and of the early Churches, I 
seemed to gain fresh strength. For the last six years I 
have given my whole attention to this great work, and 
at the present moment the history is brought down to 
the epoch of Esdras, that is to say, down to the definite 
constitution of Judaism. If anything happened to me, 
the whole of this would be ready for publication, 
making in all thi-ce volumes, though the two following 
would scai'cely be so thoroughly matured as this one. 
If I live, the second volume will appear in a twelve- 
month, and the third in two years' time. K, when 
they have all appeared, I find that my strength admits 
of it, I propose to write, in one volume, the history of 
the time of the Asmoneans. This would bring mo up 
in point of time to the Li/e of Jesus, and so I should 
have completed the cycle which it was my desire to 
embrace. This fourth volume is much easier to com- 



poso tiiaa the others. I may eveu go so far as to say 
that there is but one way of doing it, and should I 
not have time to write it I shoiihl ask my publishera 
to translate one of the many works on the subject 
which liave been written in Germany, and so complete 
the work. But I confess that I am so buoyed up by 
the pleasure of seeing it making good progress that I 
hope ifi terminate it myself, when I shall be able to 
chant with joy the " I^ord, now lettest thou thy ser- 
vant " of the aged Simeon. 

In this first volume, the great religious movement 
of Israel, which swept the world along with it, has 
scarcely begun. The vocation of Israel is not yet 
clearly marked. That people had not, as yet, any 
clear mark upon its forehead to distinguish it fi'om its 
neighbours and congeuers. At first it might have been, 
taken for a small Syro-Arabian tribe like so many others, 
llut the chUdhood of the elect is full of signs and prog- 
nostics, which arc only recognised afterwards. The 
most important period iu the life of great men is their 
youth, inasmuch as it is then that their future is 
mapped out, as it were, behind a veil. It was during 
the patriarchal age that the destiny of Israel began to 
be wiitten — nothing in the history of Israel can be 
explained without reference to the patriarchal age. 
This epoch, like all childhood, is obscured by the 
night of time ; but it is the duty of the historian, who 
is searching into the causes of things, to pierce this 
obscurity by the aid quite as much of psychology aa 
of philology. It will be objected that the golden age 



of the Aryans has quite as many documents to beck it i 
up as the patriarchal age, and yet the former is only 
a dream. The two caaes do not run on parallel lines. 
The patriarchal age existed ; it exists still in those 
countries where the nomad life of the Arabs is pre- 
served in its original purity. 

Despite the efforts which I have made not to sacri- . 
fice admiration to critical examination, and at the 
same time to let doubt preserve its rights, I know 
that the history of Israel, written in this way, muat 
be distasteful to two classes of persona : first of all, to 
the uncompromising Israelites, who will not hear of 
any teniporisation, and who insist npon the charac- 
teristics of a past played by Israel being spoken of in 
a strain of unbroken eulogy. By a curious ethno- 
graphical misapprehension, the majority of the Jews 
of our day regard as their ancestors the members of 
the tribe in the midst of which was formed, by the 
influence of an imperceptible minority, the religion 
which they profess.* A foreigner never satisfies the 
nation whose history he writes. Daru is regarded in 
Venice as an enemy ; all those who make a distinction 
between ancient and modem Greece are regarded as 
malefactors. No matter what may be said to the 
contrary, it is true that one can never go far enough to 
satisfy national vanity. Speaking in January, 1883, 
at the Cercle St. Simon,'f I said : " There is no such a 

* See the lecture on " Le Judaisme commo race et comme 
religion," io my ZJiscoiirs el Coti/erenca, p, SH and following, 
t Ji literary clnb recently founded in Paris. 



PREFACE. XV 

thing as sm immaculate history. Tho history of the 
Jewish people is one of the most beautiful we have, 
and I do not regret having devoted my life to it. But 
I am far from asserting that it is a history absolutely 
without blemish, for if it were, it would be a history 
outside humanity. If I could live a second life, I 
should certainly devote it to Greek history, which is 
in some respects a finer history than that of the Jews. 
They are, in a way of speaking, the two dominant 
histories of the world. Now, were I to write the 
history of the Greek peoples, I should not refrain 
from pointing out what is blameworthy in it. We may 
admire Greece without feeling ourselves called upon 
to admire Cleon and the evil pages in the annals of 
Athenian demagogy." 

The work of Israel was accomplished, like all human 
undertakings, by means of violence and perfidy, amidst 
a tempest of oppositions, of passions, and of crimes 
without number. The Jewish intellect derived its 
strength fi'om its least sympathetic characteristics, 
from its fanaticism and from its exclusive tendencies. 
This is, after all, a mere platitude. The French 
royalty, the Catholic unity of the Middle Ages, Pro- 
testantism, and the Revolution were brought into being 
by all kinds of crimes and errors. A great man owes 
as much to his defects as to his good qualities. The 
hardness and the brutal abruptness which so intelli- 
gibly shock our friend M. Taine in Napoleon were a 
part and parcel of his force. Had he been as well- 
bred, as polite, and unassuming as we are, he would 



not have got on ; he would have been as powerless as 
we are. 

This history will also be displeasing to the naiTow- 
minded persons who have the French defect of not 
allowing that it is possible to write the history of 
times eonceming which one has not a series of ma- 
terial facts to relate. There are no facts of this kind 
in the history of Israel up to the time of David. In 
order to content historians of this school, I should 
have had to publish the present volume as so many 
blank pages. Such a method is, to my mind, the very 
negation of all criticism. It has a double disadvan- 
tage, leading either to gross credulity or to not leaa 
purblind scepticism ; the one side swallowing the 
crudest fables, while the other side, in order not to 
take in any fables, rejects the most precious truths. 
The truth is that we can still learn a good deal with 
regard to the epochs which are anterior to history, 
Btrictly so-called. The Homeric poems are not histo- 
rical books, and yet is there anywhere a single page 
more dazzling with light than the picture of Greek 
life a thousand years u.c. which these poems give us ? 
The Arab tales of the ante-Islam period are not 
history, and yet they admit of the painting of pictures 
which are wonderfully true to the original. Tha 
Ai-thurian romances of the Middle Ages do not contain 
a word of truth, and yet they are storehouses of 
information as to the social life of the epoch in which, 
they were written. The legends are not, for the most 
part, historical, and yet they are marvellously instruc- 



PREFA CE. xvii 

tive as regards the colour of the periods to which they 
belong and the habits of the time. 

Narrow-minded critics, who deny the existence of 
the obscure periods upon which we have no strictly 
historical documents, deprive themselves of the truest 
and most important part of history. A romance is, in 
its way, a document, when one knows in what rela- 
tion it stands to the age in which it was written. The 
historic generalities which we derive from ancient texts 
are truths arrived at by]^induction, but they are none 
the less certain for all that. How many things there 
are of which the same may be said. The whole system 
of the world is arrived at by the inductive reasoning 
out of observations ; not by direct observation. 

As I have said elsewhere, ^^' we do not need to know, 
in histories of this kind, how things happened ; it is 
sufficient for us to know how they might have hap- 
pened. What was not true in one case was so in 
another. I admit that any opinions as to individuals 
are, in these circumstances, full of possibilities of error. 
But this is not a difficulty peculiar to the ages of 
fable ; judgments upon individuals are, save in excep- 
tional cases, only possible within an historic period 
either very rich in documents or very near to our own. 
And even then how many gates are open for the 
entrance of illusion ! In such a case, every phrase 
should be accompanied by a ^^ perhaps." I believe 
that I have used it pretty freely, but if the reader 
thinks it does not occur often enough, he can fill it in 

* Life of Jesus, Preface, pages 100 and following. 



at his own discretion • If he does this, he will arrive 
exactly at what I thini. 

In reality, Don Calraet and Voltaire are the one as 
incapable as the other of understanding anything about 
ancient history, the one admitting everything that is 
written, the other rejecting everything as soon as he 
can detect a single flaw in the ancient writings. The 
defect of each is the same, and may be summed up in 
their incapacity to understand the difference of the 
times, and their failure to seize what constitutes the 
essence of popular tradition. When popular tradition 
knows uotliing, it none the less continues its babble; 
and then it takes shadows for giants, and words for 
men. The exuberant feeling of trust and confidence, 
ending, when it has been abused, in childish suspicions 
— the want of criticism, in a word, which is charac- 
teristio of the French mind, in war and in politics as 
well as in tho appreciation of antiquity — proceeds as a 
rule from too great simplicity of conception. We 
cannot keep clear of pit-falls, and we reason about 
HoiiiuIus, ^neas, and Joshua, in tho same way that we 
do about Napoleon, just as if we had newspapers or state 
documents dating from the time of Romulus — just as 
if we knew iEneas from contemporary evidence — just 
as if wi'iting had been an every-day affair in these 

' Tba most perfect motliod to adopt in n case of thia kind would 
be that of polychromatic printing, in which each pai't of a page or 
uvoD uf a. phrase would be printed in inks of differeot Bhadee, from 
voiy t)lack ink, to mark certainty, down to the liglitest possible 
tints, to mark tho various degrees of probability, plausibility, and 




PREFACE. XIX 

remote times — just as if the prehistoric imagery had 
not been floating for five or six centuries amid the 
mists of oral tradition, in which nothing is visible at a 
distance of half a century — just as if the heroes of an 
age in which rivers had sons, in which mountains 
begat children, did not require to be located in accord- 
ance with some special rules ! 

The Abb6 Barthelemy disposed of all these childish 
ideas a hundred years ago,» when he wrote: "In 
those days there lived a man called -Slneas ; he was of 
illegitimate birth, a bigot and a coward ; these qualities 
won him the esteem of King Priam, who, not knowing 
what present to make him, gave him one of his 
daughters in marriage. His history begins upon the 
night that Troy was taken. He quitted the city, lost 
his wife on the way, took ship, had an intrigue with 
Dido, Queen of Carthage, who survived him for 
four centuries, got up some very amusing sports near 
the tomb of his father, Anchises, who had died in 
Sicily, and eventually landed in Italy, near the mouth 
of the Tiber, where the first object which met his 
gaze was a sow which had just given birth to thirty 
white pigs." 

I agree with Barthelemy that history does not lose 
much by being deprived of such stuflf as this. If, 
when what is legendary has been eliminated or treated 
as legendary, there remains but an indistinct contour 
of figures which were once striking, no doubt, but 
which the hand of time has eflEaced, there is no help 

* The Mercure de France, 1792, No. 18.] 



PREFACE. 



for it. History must perforce extract as much truth 
aa possible from the indications which it has at com- 
mand ; it is doing a very sorry work when it relates a 
number of childish stories in a tone of the utmost 
seriousness. To depict the great men of a remote 
antiquity in the dimness of their distant past is not 
equivalent to diminishing their proportions. A giant 
placed in the furthest horizon of a picture is not the 
less a giant ; but it would be contrary to all reason to 
give the giant the position of a figure in the fore- 
ground. Thus, for instance, it is no fault of mine if 
Hoses, at the distance at which he stands, has the 
appearance of a shapeless column, lite the pillar of 
salt which represents Lot's wife. Moses, if he ever 
existed, which there is every reason to suppose that 
he did, is fourteen or fifteen centuries anterior to 
Jesus. Jesus is known to us by at least one contem- 
porary piece of evidence, that of St. Paul. His legend 
is the work of the second and third generation of 
Christians. The oldest legends relating to Moses are 
at least four or five centitries posterior to the age in 
which he lived, perhaps more. No one ever blamed 
Eaphael for having, in his picture of the Transfigu- 
ration, painted Christ in heaven smaller than the 
apostles and the multitude of people upon the 
ground. ^ 

It has only been through the energetic efforts of 
modem criticism and philology that an insight has 
been obtained into the truth of these ancient texts, 
which seemed expressly designed to lead ua astray. 



PREFACE. 



The old opic tales, trustworthy in their way, the theo- 
cratic after-touches, and the sacerdotal revisions are 
often to be met with, one upon the other, in the same 
paragi'aph, and it needs a very practised eye to detect 
them. The problem is analogous to that presented by 
the Hcrculaneum rolls, where the eye can at first see 
nothing but hundreds of letters, without being able to 
say to what pages they belong, all the sheets sticking 
together and forming one carbonised mass. In the 
same way, in the historical parts of the Bible, the 
different wordings so run into one another, the scissors 
of the' compilers have been plied so capriciously, that 
it is often impossible to make any attempt to sort 
them out.* The art of the critic, nevertheless, some- 
times answers with wondei-ful success the challenges 
cast down to our sagacity. During the last twenty 
years, more especially, the problems relating to the 
history of Israel have been dissected with rare pene- 
tration by Beu8.s, Graf, Kuenen, No^ldeke, Wellhauscn, 
and Stade. I assume that my readers'are familiar with 
the works of these eminent men. They will find in 
them the explanation of a number of points which I 
could not treat in detail without repeating what has 
already been said by these writers, 

The requirements of chronological order, whieh^must 
be observed in history, will explain why a number of 

• As regards the Hes.iteuch, I would adviao those who are 
deairouB of keeping thcmeulvos well iitformcd to read Ibo Perpetual 
Commentary of M. DiUmana, who oipoanda tho systems Ui a very 
complete fonu, aud admits of a fieo and uobinssed opiuion being 
formed. 



questions, whicli are in connexity with those treatod in 
this volume, will only be completely elucidated in the 
second, this being especially the case with the ques- 
tions relating to the age and authority of the texts, 
I have been compelled to make nse in this volume of 
texts the composition and remodelling of wliich will 
only be set forth in the second volume. In order 
that my readers may be able forthwith to see by what 
principles of criticism I have been guided, I have put 
together in four articles, which appeared in the Revue 
ties Deux Moruks (March 1 and 15, Dec. 1 and 15, 1886), 
the principal passages of the second and of the third 
volume which relate to the compilation of the historical 
books of the Bible. Those who may think it worth 
while to read these four articles will be able to form 
an idea of the system of literary history which will be 
developed in the following volumes, 

This system only differs, moreover, in one respect 
from that which is followed in the great Gorman and 
Dutch schools. Side by side with the so-called Jeho- 
vist version of the Hexateuch, which appears to have 
been composed in the kingdom of Israel about 800 b.c., 
I admit an ancient Elohiat, which I imagine to have 
been composed at Jerusalem rather later, about tho 
time of Hezekiah. I thus avoid ascribing to a modem 
period the Elohist parts, such as the beginning of 
Genesis, which are so different from what the Jews 
have done since the Captivity. My views as to the 
lasar^ the Booh of the Wars of lahvek, and, speaking 
generally, all the old books of an epic, idyllic, and 



I 



almost profane character, wbieh preceded any version 
of the Pentateuch, are foreshadowed in advance in the 
present volume. Eegarded from a documentary point 
of view, these books, written in the kingdom of the 
North and anterior to the great prophetic era, form 
more or less nearly the series which the German critics 
designate by the letter B. 

With regard to the proper names which are known, 
I have adhered to the transcriptions in general use, 
even when these transcriptions are more or less 
defective, as in the ease of Salomon, Mo'ise (Solomon, 
ises), &c. In the case of names which have no 
recognised modem equivalent, I have created French 
transcriptions in conformity with our habits, following 
the ancient versions and not omitting the massoretic 
vowels, though without any servile adhesion to them. 
I have done my best to make all the names easy of 
pronunciation, without any special sign or notation. 

I As a general rule, it will be foimd that each Hebrew 
consonant has been represented by a single letter. The 
only real difficulty was in the case of the Hebrew 
scki7i, answering to the English sh, the German sch, to 

I the French ck in chose. These different transcriptions 
give rise to all kinds of misapprehensions. The Greek 
and Latin translators, who have found themselves 

f fece to face with the same difficulty, have rendered 
the Hebraic chuintanle by the simple sibilant. I have 
followed their example in order to avoid the accumu- 
lation of letters, which are a cause of perpetual 

L embarrassment for the French reader. 



X>{V PREFACE. 

The corrections which I have been led to suggest 
in the Hebrew texts are indicated in the notes. The 
great advances made during the last thirty years by 
Semitic paleography — advances which are the insult 
(rf the vast progresB of Semitic epigraphy — ^now 
enable ub to apply, without fear of error, to the test 
of the Bible the method of verbal criticism inanga- 
rated in the eighteenth century by Pere Iloubigant. 
The ingu£BcieQt data which were to be had with 
regard to the history af the Semitic writings made it 
impossible for tliis study to bo founded upon any 
solid basis at that time. But in the present stato of 
science the future of Hebraic philology lies in this 
direction. Formerly, the traditional Hebrew test was 
received with a sort of superstitious reverence, people 
forgetting that the ancient versions have often fol- 
lowed a better test. Since we have been able to 
reconstitute century by century the way in which the 
Hebrew writings were copied, the mistakes have 
become evident, and it has been found possible to lay 
down rules for correcting them. These rules, based 
upon paleography, are the principal subject of my 
lectures at the College de France. They will be 
found very faithfully summarised in the preface of 
M. Orojtz'a Commentary upon the Psalms. Those 
who arc desirous of making themselves acquainted 
with these interesting researches must, in the first 
place, have before them the excellent tables of Semi- 
tic paleography drawn up by M. Euting. 

The portion of Hebraic history dealt with in this 



PREFACE. 

volume derives valuable light from Assyriology and 
Egyptology, those two great scientific creations of our 
century. In regard to the former, in his connection 
with the Bible, a very useful manual is M. Schrader^s 
book, each edition of which keeps the reader well 
posted up in the condition of that science. In respect 
to Egyptology I have found the best and safest of 
guides in my learned colleague, M. Maspero, who has 
been kind enough to read all the chapters in this 
volume which touch upon Egypt, and to supply me 
with some very lucid notes which I have reprinted as 
they came from him. 

Since I first began to address myself to the public 
upon religious history, now forty years ago, great 
changes have taken place. People no longer argue 
with one another as to the very foundation of religion, 
and that, to my mind, is a distinct step in advance. 
It is equivalent to admitting that there is room, in the 
infinite, for every one to fashion his own romance. 
Liberty, as understood in America, is the consequence 
of such a condition of things, and my belief is that, 
in the course of another century, nearly all the civil- 
ised nations will reach this point. We can afford to 
wait in patience, for, even at the present time, in 
nearly all civilised countries, no one is compelled to 
act in any way contrary to his conscience, everybody 
being free to contract marriage, bring up his children, 
and arrange for his funeral in the way that seems best 
to him. This is an immense result to have obtained. 
Once it is allowed that all the Churches, if not of 

c2 



PREFACE. 



equal value, are a matter of tradition and not ■ 
absolute truth, there is no reason why people shou! 
be at variance as to what is but a material fact ( 
history. The interminable polemics to which the 
struggles of Catholicism, Protestantism, and Juduism 
have given rise, have ceased to be of any consequence 
outside tho historical movement which they hava 
brought about. 

This historical interest, at all events, is in no waj^ 
impaired. For a long time to come people will con? 
cem themselves about religions, after they have ceased ' 
to believe in them. The downfall of theology does 
not imply the downfall of the history of theology, 
any more than the small interest which now attacbes m 
to tho study of metaphysical philosophy deprives the k 
history of ancient philosophy of its interest. To i 
the past as it really was is tho first delight of mai 
and the noblest — I may add the moat useful — of hia!l 
curiosities. It is always good to know the truth. If 
we could know the truth as to the past and the 
present of humanity, we should bo perfect in our 
wisdom. Every fault has its origin in an error. If 
Louis XIV had learned the history of Protestantism 
from a better source than that of his Gallican theo- 
logians, he would not have revoked the Edict of 
Nantes. If St. Louis had possessed a better know- 
ledge of the history of the Church, ho would not have 
allowed his subjects to bo decimated by tho Inqui- 
sition. If Marcus-Aurelius had been better versed in 
tho history of Christianity, the atrocious scenes of the 



PREFACE. xxvii 

amphitheatre at Lyons would never have been 
witnessed. If the legislators of the Revolution had 
known more of the essence of Catholicism from the 
time of the Council of Trent, they would never have 
dreamed of creating a French National Church. If 
the Radical party in France at the present day was 
not so ignorant of religious history, it would know 
that religions are like women, who can be got to do 
anything if they are taken in the right way, but of 
whom you can obtain nothing if you attempt to use 
force. 

And is this sceptical or negative result the only one 
which comes out of the study of this long series of 
errors ? Is it, after all, a matter of much importance 
to know what weary stages poor humanity has travelled 
to find that the summits of Olympus and Mount Sinai 
are deserts, that the heavens are void and the earth 
very small, that thunder is a phenomenon of more ap- 
parent than real amplitude, that the rainbow is but a 
play of light refracted in the raindrops? Not so. 
The reasoning of Kant remains as true as ever it was ; 
moral affirmation creates its object. Religions, like 
philosophies, are all of them vain ; but religion is no 
more vain than philosophy is. Without the hope of any 
recompense, man devotes himself to his duty even 
unto death. A victim of the injustice of his fellow- 
men, he lifts his eyes to heaven. A generous cause, 
in which his own interests are in no way concerned, 
often makes his heart beat. The elohim are not 
hidden aloft in the eternal snows, they are not to be 



xxviii PRE f' ACE. 

met with, as in the time of Moses, in the mountain de- 
files ; they dwell in the heart of man. You will never 
drive them out of that. Justice, truth, and goodness 
are willed by a higher power. The progress of reason 
was fatal only to the false gods. The true God of 
the universe, the one God, He whom men adore when 
they do a good deed, or when they seek the truth, or 
when they advise their fellow-men aright, is estab- 
lished for all eternity. It is the certain knowledge of 
having served, after my own fashion, despite all manner 
of defects, this good cause which inspires me with 
absolute confidence in the divine goodness. It is the 
conviction that this book will be of service to religious 
progress which has made me love it. As in the case 
of the Life of Jesus^ I demand for the present volume, 
dealing as it does with very obscure times,' a little of 
that indulgence which it is usual to grant to seers, and 
of which seers stand in need. Moreover, supposing 
that I have conjectured wrongly upon certain points, 
I am certain that I have rightly understood as a whole 
the unique work which the Spirit of God, that is to 
say the soul of the world, has realised through Israel. 



HISTORY OF 

THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL 



BOOK I. 

THE BEKLISRAEL IN THE NOMAB STATE DOWN 
TO THEIR SETTLEMENT IN THE L.iND OF 
CANAAN. 



CnAPTER I. 

4BKIVAL OP TUE SEMITES IN STRIA.— CANAiMTES. 
The passage from the animal state to humanity did 
not take place upon a single part of the globe, nor by 
a single spontaneous effort. From several directions, 
either simultaneously or successively, the human con- 
Bcience xinravelled itself, elevated itself, purified itself, 
conceived the idea of justice, asserted the principles of 
right and duty. Language then came in to define and 
establish these conquests of mind over matter. The 
capitalisation of results, the solidarity of different 
generations, which are the essential conditions of pro- 
gress, were henceforth rendered certain. 

Language, like morality itself, was not the result of 
one single creation. The different tongues were formed 
separately, in diverse centres ; they constituted irre- 




'^OF ISRAEL. 



ducible families, types which, once formed, ran in 
parallel lines for centuries, without undergoing any 
material modification. There then ensued an element 
of grouping and separation of more capital importance 
than the question of race. For the point which it ia 1 
necessary to bring into prominent notice is that the \ 
appearance of what may be called the different human J 
species upon the one hand, and the appearance of the 1 
different families of language upon the other, wore 
facts separated from each other by many centuries, so 
much so that the division of human species and the 
division of the families of languages do not at all 
coincide.* 

In each centre of linguistic creation, tliere were 
already individuals of very different species. It may 
well have been, moreover, that families very nearly 
related from the physiological point of view, but 
already separated from one another, created their 
language upon quite different types. 

In this way, languages represent not ethnographical 
divisions of humanity, but constitutional facts of great 
antiquity and of incalculable importance ; ibr language, 
being for any oue race the very form and fashion of 
thought, the use of the same tongue, continued for 
centuries, becomes, for the family which confines itself 
to the same, a mould, a corset so to speak, more bind- 
ing than even religion, legislation, manners, and 

• I have dilated npon this point in Lm Lani/uti et lea Races, a 
lecture delivered at the Sorbonne, March, 2, 1878 (Bvlhtin dt 
V^tociation KUtttifiqut lie Frattcf, No. fi40). 



ARRIVAL OF THE SEMITES IN SYRIA. 



customs. Kace of itself without tlie institutionfl ap- 
pertaining to it is of trifling importance ; the institu- 
tions are like the barrel lioops by which the jntenial 
capacity of a durable recipient may be measured. Of 
all institutions, the most long-lived is language. Thus 
language took almost entirely the place of raco in the 
division of humanity into groups ; or, to put it in 
another way, the word " race " assumed a different 
meaning. Language, religion, laws, and customs, 
came to constitute the race far more than blood. The 
blood itself, by means of the hereditary qualities which 
it transmitted, perpetuated institutions and habits of 
education far more than it did a genius inherent to 
the germs of life. 

"We must assume primitive humanity to have been 
very malevolent. The chief characteristics of man for 
many centuries were craft, a refinement of cunning, 
and a degree of lubricity, which, like that of the 
monkey, knew neither times nor seasons. But amid 
this mass of shameless satyrs, there were gome groups 
which had the germs of better things in them. Love was 
in the course of time accompanied by reverie. Slowly 
but surely a principle of authority was established. 
The need for order created the hierarchy. Force was 
met by imposture and by working upon the supersti- 
tious fears of men ; sacerdotal offices were founded. 
Certain men persuaded others that they were the 
necessary intermediaries between them and the 
divinity. All this led to the creation of societies 
analogous to the Negro societies of Dahomey, of 




4 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OB ISRAEL. 

considerable strength, complicated, tyrannical, super- 
etitious, devoid of morality, swift to shed blood. There 
was scarcely such a thing as family. The child, in 
those early ages, knew only his mother, women being 
the common property of the tribe. 

The progress effected for centuries together within 
the fold of families comparatively well endowed with 
intelligence derived from these primitive groupings, 
resulted not in liberty, nor yet morality, but in a very 
well-regulated state of things, in which much that was 
valuable was gained. For at a distance of six or seven 
thousand years from the age in which we live, we can 
still catch a glimpse of three or four civilisations, or, to 
put it better, three or four groat human hives, having 
their regular rules, their mode of life, their language, 
and their religious rites. They resembled republics 
of bees or of ants. The alluvial deposits of the great 
rivers appear to have been very favourable to this 
early type of civilisation, of which China, now a 
wizened, old-fashioned-looking child, has handed down 
the pattern to the present day. The Yellow River, at 
the eastern extremity of Asia, the Ganges, to the south 
of the Himalayas, the Tigris and the Euphrates in 
Central Asia, and the Nile in Africa witnessed the 
expansion of societies which were very perfect from 
the point of view of their general mechanism, but in 
which individual liberty and genius appear to have 
had no place. They were so many human flocks 
governed by a king, who was the son of Heaven, 
amid which one would look in vain for the principle 



ARRIVAL OF THE SEMITES TN SYRIA. s 

which formed flie Greek city, the Jewish church, the 
Germanic league, feudalism, chivalry, constitutional 
monarchy, a republic of reason. In such societies as 
these order is secured administratively by mandarins, by 
heads of departments, by an organised police. There is 
no such thiug'aa a great statesman, a great orator, a great 
citizen. There is no more trace of a revolution or of a 
protest against the established order of things than in 
an ant-hill. It must not be forgotten, however, that 
it was these ancient societies which laid the first bases 
of the human edifice and made nearly all the material 
discoveries. Chaldea and Egyjit, in particular, sup- 
plied the Greeks and the Hebrews, not with their 
genius assuredly, but with the essential elements of 
their extraordinary work ; they inoculated the Greeks 
and Hebrews with a host of ideas which these latter 
made fruitful and beneficial for humanity. 

About the year 2000 B.C. we find an entirely new 
element making its appearance in history. The Aryans 
and the Semites make their presence felt in the world. 
Far from first becoming civilised in great agglomera- 
tions at a time, these races began, apparently, with 
the idea of the individual defending his rights against 
those around him. Their starting-point was the 
family. Like all great things the family was founded 
by the most atrocious means ; millions of women 
stoned to death paved the way to conjugal fidelity. 
Jealousy, though not based upon a very noble prin- 
ciple, became an essential condition of progress. The 
male kept guard over his female. Armed with a club 



6 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

and aided by his dog, the honest satyr kept watch in 
front of the small fortification he had built ; at the 
slightest suspicion he put the adulterous female to 
death by stoning her. These groups, noble in their 
conceptions by comparison with the others, closed 
their ranks and formed camps strong enough to isolate 
them amid the night of anarchy by which they were 
surrounded. 

Thus there emerged from the savage state what 
may be called barbarian morality, which we catch a 
glimpse of in remote antiquity under two types, the 
Aryan and the Semitic. Material civilisation may, 
when these two types of relative probity appeared, 
have seemed to be already old ; but true morality in 
reality was bom with them. Chaldea was in posses- 
sion of those singular institutions which were destined 
to become in some respects so favourable to the 
awakening of the human intellect. Egypt had reached 
its utmost expansion, and even in its maturity the 
first symptoms of its decrepitude were apparent. 
China was at once young and decrepit, almost as well 
administered as ever she had been. The new-comers, 
upon the contrary, were rugged, very inferior to the 
Egyptians and the ancient Babylonians of the ante- 
Semitic period in all that related to the material com- 
forts of life; but they had the inward fire, poesy, 
passion, melancholy, the craving for another life, the 
secret of the future. The family principle, which im- 
plies womanly modesty, had with the Aryans all the 
strength of a band of iron. The tribe was, among the 



Semites, a school of pride, respect, and mutual self- 
devotion. Out of this common ground there arose 
very marked moral and intellectual differences. Strict 
monogamy was the law of primitive Ai'yanism.* "Wo- 
man had, at first, to bear a very large share in 
the dangers of the family, and this conferred certain 
manly and determined characteristics upon her. The 
child was brought up in common by his father and 
mother ; he received the impress of his parents with 
extraordinary force. "With the Semites the spirit of 
race was manifested iu a not less marked degree ; 
but monogamy was not strictly observed.f A respect- 
able man was at liberty to possess several wives at the 
same time. In religion the contrast was not less 
marked. The primitive religion of the Aryan was 
unbridled polytheism. From the most ancient times 
the Somite patriarch had a secret tendency towards 
monotheism, or at least towards a simple and compara- 
tively reasonable worship. 

The languages, in particular, offered a marked con- 
trast. The languages of the Aryans and the Semites 
differed essentially, though there were points of con- 
nexity between them. The Aryan language was 
immensely superior, especially in regard to the conju- 
gation of verbs. This marvellous instrument, created 

* The Aryan marriageB may he judged from the model of the 
Boman marriages, the Bomana ofTerkig the oldest type of Aryna 
society. 

t See, for further detftils, Wat. dc» langucs semitiqim, b. i. eb. i., 
and h. v. ch, ii. ; also Olisfrcatiom itir le monotkeismt da peiiples 
Bimtiiquei, in tho Journal atiattque, Feh.-March, April-May, 16G9. 



8 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

by the instinct of primitive man, contained in the 
germ all the metaphysics which were afterwards to be 
developed through the Hindoo genius, the Greek 
genius, the German genius. The Semitic language, 
upon the contrary, started by making a capital fault 
in regard to the verb. The greatest blunder which 
this race has made (for it was the most irreparable), 
was to adopt, in treating the verb, a mechanism so 
petty that the expression of the tenses and moods has 
always been imperfect and cumbersome. Even at the 
present time the Arab has to struggle in vain against 
the linguistic blimder which his ancestors made ten or 
fifteen thousand years ago. 

The Aryan race, about the year 2000 B.C., had its 
centre in ancient Arya (now Afghanistan), and thence 
it had already thrown out eastward and northward 
branches which were in time to become Celts, 
Scythians (Germans and Sclavs), Pelasgi (Greeks and 
Italiots). About the same time the heart of the 
Semitic race appears to have been in Arabia, 
which was less arid than it is now ;* and from Arabia 
seems to have started the conquest which made of 
Babylonia, hitherto Turanian, Conschete or Ccphene, 
a Semitic country. The Arameans t probably followed 
the same course. Finally, according to ancient 

* In our time, Arabia, especially the southern part, is still 
drj'ing up. Water is disappearing from places where it used to 
exist, and the inhabitants are emigrating towards Persia. 

f The intimate connection between the ancient Aramaic and the 
ancient Arabic is one of the most striking outcomes of the pro- 
gress of Semitic epigraphy. See Revue de archeologie 07iefitale, 



ARRIVAL OF THE SEMITES IN SFRIA. 9 

traditions, it is from Arabia also that came into the 
basin of the Mediterranean the peoples who called 
themselves Kenaani^ and whom the Greeks named 
PAoenmans*. These peoples spread along the sea-shore, 
from the small island of Euad to Jaffa. They spoke a 
language very analogous to what we call Hebrew-t 
There is nothing to show that they were ever nomad. 
From the very first they entered upon trade and 
navigation, founding the great commercial and indus- 
trial cities of Sidon, Aradus, and the more hieratic 
city of Gebal (Byblus). Although they never formed 
any real continental empire, there were Canaanite 
tribes in the interior, and the whole of Palestine, 
especially to the west of the river Jordan, was peopled 
with them. 

Syria thus became an entirely Semitic country. The 
lists of the names of the Syrian towns referred to in 

year 1, No. II. (1885), and the inscriptions discovered by M. 
Doughty, published in the Notices et Extraits of the Academie des 
Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. xviii. part i. ; Eevue de etudes 
juives, July-Sept., 1884, p. 1 and following. All inscriptions 
proceeding from Arabic are Aramaic. The Ep€fipOL of Homer 
(Odyssey, iv. 84) vacillate curiously between "^anw and "^^nr. 
Strabo, xvi. iv. 27. 

* Herodotus, i. i. 1. Herr Budde*s system {Bibl. Vrgeschichte, 
p. 848 and following) as to the non-identity of the Kenaarii and 
Phoenicians is refused by the monies of Laodicea (]^3D^ DS), by 
the tenth chapter of Genesis, by the acceptation of the term >33;3D, 
merchant, by the Book of Judges, ch, xviii. v. 7, in which the 
Sidonian mode is assuredly the Phoenician mode, &c. Isaiah, 
ch. zix, V. 11. 

t See Cotytis, inscr. semit,, part i., the names of the Canaanite 
towns and kings are almost Hebrew. 



HISTORy OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

the conquests of the Tofhmes and the Ramesca are full 
of Semitic words.* The Kh^tas, whom the Egyptian 
amials so often mention aa detested neighbours, are 
prohably the Canaanite Ilittim, whoso centre was at 
Hebron, but whose name seems to have been often 
used to designate the Canaanite populations'!" ^^'^ even 
Syria.J The name of Holenu, which is also used 
by the Egyptians to designate the populations of Syiia, 
is probably the name of Zo/u, or Zot, which is con- 
nected with the country about the Dead Sea.§ The 
primitive races of Emivi, Zomzommim, and Enakim, 
were reduced to mere insignificant handfuls.H 

Egypt exercised a kind of suzerainty over the 
country. But, beyond the boundaries of the rich 
Phoenician cities, this suzerainty was nominal, being 
confined to expeditions, which wore renewed from 
reign to reign, and which always resulted in an easy 
triumph. What little art there was in the country 
bore an Egyptian imprint of the most marked 
character.^ 

* Mariotte, Kurmik, pi. 17 — 26 ; /^j Lisles gcogr. dea pylmes tU 
Kamak, quarto, 1675, with folio atlas ; Msspcro m the Ztittchrift 
fiirjEifypl. Sprache, 1681, pp. U!)— 131 ; aud in the Memoir* of 
the Victoria JmlituU, 188C, 1887; Chabas, Le royugt ifun F.<jyp- 
tien, quarto, Paris, 1866. t Seo Gesecius, The»„ word /in. 

t This would bo an abuse of terms, just as it is to employ the 
word "Allomand" to designato all the Germans, or the word 
" Anglais " to designatB all British Bubjectg. 

§ See Gesonius, words mb and )T2lb. These two names 
appear to be of equivalent value. 

II The ostablishmect of the Philistines is posterior to this. See 
pp. 183, 134. 

11 See Mitiiioii* de Plienteie, cocclnaions. 



CHAPTER II. 



THE NOMAD SEMITES. 



The Semitic invasion of Syria was not confined to the 
Phtenicians, the Khetas, and tho Eotenii. For cen- 
turies the region of the Jordan and of the Dead Sea 
■was invaded by new comers, who spoke nearly tho 
same language as the Canaanites. The settlement of 
the Semitic hordes and their transformation to town life 
were gradual processes, aud did not affect the nomad 
life which most of the tribes continued to lead, Arabia 
and Syria wore full of wandering families, who lived in 
tcnta and who caiTiod about with them the secret of the 
fine language and of the fundamental ideas of their 
race. Tent life is that which gives the most oppor- 
tunity and spare time for reflection aud passion. It was 
a life of this kind, austere and stately, which created 
one of the spirits of humanity, one ofthe forms through 
which the genius, which assumes bodily shape by our 

\ nerves and muscles, developed info expression and life. 

I Judaism (of which Christianity is but a development) 

I and Islamism have their roots iu this ancient soil. .They 
wore, indeed, fathers of the faith, these chiefs of nomad 
clans, wandering through the desert, staid, honest in 

, their own fashion, narrow-minded no doubt, but 

VOL. I. D 



1 2 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

puritanic, full of horror for pagan impurities, believing 
in justice, and with their eyes lifted to heaven.* 

Philosophy and science, which are the capital crea- 
tions of humanity, could not spring from this source ; 
but among the human agglomerations which were the 
first to conceive sentiments of order and the pride which 
is born of self-respect, that of the Semite pastors must 
undoubtedly hold one of the first places. The Hebrew 
encampment was, to the same extent as the Aryan 
gard^ a sort of asylum of refuge, a virtuous selection 
amidst a world of violence, like the Turan, or of moral 
degradation, as were Egypt, and probably Assyria. 
Eeligion had, even at that period, a very real bearing 
upon honest living, and contributed in a certain mea- 
sure to morality. 

'^ The main document upon this primitive age is the Book of 
Genesis, regarded not as an historical work, but as the idealistic 
description of an age which really existed. A book which is not 
historical may verj' well supply a perfect historical picture : as 
for instance, the Kitdb'cl'Atjhdnif the Homeric poems. The con- 
firmation of the truthful colouring of the narratives of Genesis is 
to be found in the Book of Job, in the paintings in the Beni- 
Hassan grottoes in Egypt, and especially in the Arab life as it 
exists at the present time. The life which the Arabs lead now 
enables us to study the patriarchal society of antiquity as if it 
were still in existence. The type of this society is so unchange- 
able that we are justified in drawing conclusions from to-day back 
to a period of four or five thousand years. Islam has nothing to 
do with the characteristics of Arab life, having exercised very 
little influence upon the life of the nomads. The tribes who roam 
about in the neighbourhood of Mecca are scarcely Mussulman at 
all. The Kitdb-el-Ai/hdni, which is the exact image of Arab life 
before Mahomet, depicts scenes quite analogous to those of the 
ancient Hebrew narratives, and to what may be seen in our own 
day among the Bedouins of the desert. 



THE NOMAD SEMITES. 13 

This morality was obtained at the cost of a startling 
simplicity of ideas. The liberty of the individual, 
which in our eyes is the most highly prized result of 
civilisation, did not exist. Man then belonged not to 
himself but to his anthropological, linguistic, and 
religious group. None of those great emancipating 
facts which, by breaking up the too narrow framework 
of the nation, render the individual independent, 
no great fact like the Greek Civilisation, the Eoman 
Empire, Christianity, Islamism, the Benaissance, the 
Eeformation, Philosophy, or the Eevolution had yet 
burst upon the world. The solidarity of the tribe was 
unbroken. What was justice for one was justice for 
the other ; the crime of the one was visited upon his 
neighbour,* for the lot of the individual was bound up 
with the morality of the whole of which he formed 
part. Generations existed in their father ; a tribe was 
a man ; all the genealogies which were preserved by 
memory were conceived in this style, which was later 
the cause of such frequent mistakes. 

With ufl responsibility is personal, and there can 
be no crime without a criminal intention. A crime 
committed unwittingly is an accident according to our 
ideas. Abimelech, King of Gerar, would not have 
been more to blame if he had not discovered Isaac's 
stratagem.f But to him there appeared to be all the 
diflterence in the world. He would have committed 

"^ Genesis, ch. xviii., v< 23, and following. Ezekiel was the 
first of the Hebrews to refate this grave error, 
f Genesis, ch. xzvi. 

d2 



14 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OB ISRAEL. 

adultery without being aware of it, and adultery wa» 
an inward fire, a disorder which, of itself, led to ther 
ruin and extermination of families.* Abimelech, there- 
fore, might well say to Isaac, " What is this that thou 
hast done imto us ? " 

These nomad tribes would form groups, numbering 
as many as four or five hundred souls; when they 
became more numerous than that they interfered 
with each other in their grazing, and a subdivision 
took place;! but the recollection of the primitive 
relationship was preserved for centuries. It was a 
rare thing for the tribe to be reinforced by strangers. 
Great store was set by purity of blood, and the 
prouder of the chiefs sent sometimes to fetch wives 
from very remote regions, whence they believed their 
family had sprung at a remote date. J The chief of the 
family, or patriarch, § embodied in himself all the social 
institutions of the time. His authority was absolute 
and imquestioned ; he had no need of agents to cause 
himself to be respected. Power was vested, in reality, 
in the tribe as a whole. The only primitive measures 
known were death or expulsion from the tribe, which 
amounted to pretty much the same thing. || Justice 

" Job, ch. XXXI., V. 11, 28. 

f Genesis, ch. xxxvi., v. 6, 7. 

I Genesis, chs. xxiv., xxvii., xxviii. 

§ This word is not met with before the first century of our era ; 
but it is a very suitable one, so I have employed it. 

li The penalty of hikkaret, or separation from the tribe, soon 
ended in death, as the person who was outlawed had no longer 
any protection. See for a curious illustration of this practice 
among the Bedouins of our day Saulcy's Voyages, vol. i. pp. 



THE NOMAD SEMITES. rj 

was administered by the assembly of elders. The code 
consisted simply in tho application of the lex taUom's. 
The vengeance of blood, which was exacted as a family 
duty, sufficed to render murder almost as rare as it has 
become in our modern societies by the working of 
institutions far more complicated. It is the same still 
in Arabia, where, without any established government, 
the number of offences against the person is not greater 
than it is with us. 

There were not, moreover, auy external signs of 
power, the pivot upon which the society of that day 
moved being respect. The road to supreme power lay 
neither through violence, nor the popular vote, nor the 
hereditary principle, nor an established constitution. 
Authority was a self-evident fact, which carried the 
proof of it upon its face. Without any sort of military 
organisation, without priests or prophets, some of 
these nomad groups thus succeeded in realising very 
perfect societies or associations. There was no national 
existence, but thanks to the solidarity of the tribe life 
and property were fairly secure. 

The head of the family had not, as a rule, more 
than one regular wife. In certain cases, nevertheless, 
the patriarch had two wives of equal status and of 
noble blood ; often two sisters." This Hglme had the 
usual bad residts, that is to say, unpleasantness between 

201, 292. Tbe hUAnrel is in force among the republic of ants. 
The nnt which deviates from the rules of the commanity ia 
expelled, and soon dies. 
' Rachel and Leah. 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL 



brothers. The sons of the same mother were alone 
brothers (amadelj)hi or adelphi, having sucked at the 
same breast).* The patriarch had, besides, for concu- 
bines all the female slaves in his tent, especially those 
of his wife, and they bore him children, to the know- 
ledge and often at the request of his wife.t These con- 
cubines' children had not rights equal to those of th( 
eons of well-born wives, though they at the same timd 
formed part and parcel of the family. 

The privileges of primogeniture as between Uu 
sons of the well-born wife were considerable, J In case 
of twins being bom, the midwife took care to tie a bit 
of red string round the arm of the first-bom.§ The 
eldest bom was the head of the family ; the father as 
a rule allotted each son his share. His blessing carried 
its own weight with it, like one of the sacraments so 
to speak, even when there was a mistake as to the 
identity of the person blessed.|| Tltere were no ille- 
gitimate children ; all the prostitutes were foreigners ; 
the guilty woman was Imrnt or stoned, ^f and the fruit 
of her womb destroyed with her ; if the child was bom 
it was stoned to death. Upon the other hand, the 
wife had, to a certain extent, a right to bear children, 



F- 

1 

IB ^ 



• OenewB, cb. xliii., v. 29, 30. 
t History of Abraham and Sarah. 
] GeneBia, cb. xxvii. 
i Qenesis, ch. xssviii., v. 27, 28. 
11 Eean, Geneeis, cb. xlviii. 
II Geneais, cb. XKXviii., v, 25. 

''* Genesis, cb. xsxviii., v. 8 and the fgllowing ; the Book of 
Bnth. 



THE NOMAD SEMITES. 17 

If her liusband died, it was Iier duty to appeal to her 
brother-in-law or to some member of her husband's 
family j any attempt to evade this duty was looked 
upon as a gross offence.* 

Slavery was, and has remained, one of the necessi- 
ties of the life which these tribes led. Slaves were re- 
cruited by inter-tribal wars or by purchase. The slave 
formed part of the family, and as the material labour 
entailed by the life his master led was inconsiderable, 
the lot of the male slave was not at all a hard one. 
The male slave enjoyed his master's confidence, and 
he shared all the sentiments of his tribe. With his 
master's protection overshadowing him, he was almost as 
much respected as the latter. The female slave, upon the 
contrary, was set the hardest tasks, such, for instance, 
as the grinding at the mill and the drawing of 
water.t 

Although they did not inhabit any regularly-built 
towns, the nomad Semites did not pass their whole 
lives wandering from one pasturage to another. The 
tribe often remained for a long time at the same place, 
and even ran up hastily built houses, such as may be 
seen in the present day in the poorer of the Syrian 
villages. Ilouses were regarded as a gift of God, who 
built them for those with whom He was well pleased.J 
There is an abundance of broken stones over all the 

* Genesis, ch. xxsviii., v. 9. The explanation generally given 
distorts tbc catuio of the offence bere referred to. 

t Exodus, ch. xi., V. 5;' Isaiab, cb. slit,, v. 2; Job, cb. xxi., 
V. 10. 

X Ezodoa, cb. i., t. 21. 



18 mSTORV OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

Burfece of the soil of Syria. By putting these together 
as closely as they will go, and by filling up the inter- 
Bticee with branches, a shelter is obtained which those 
who have ocpiipied it can abandon without scruple 
■when the tribe mo^'es off to some other place. The 
camels' -hair tents, secured by ropes, must have been 
verj' like the Arab tents of the present day. Of coui'se 
the furniture needed iu a life of this kind was very 
scanty, being confined to earthenware vessels and 
clothing, while almost the solo luxury consisted of 
bracelets, and rings for the noses and ears of the 
women. A chased dish was reserved fur strangers of 
distinction.* 

The food consisted of milk and meat. In the course 
of the sojourn, often extending over several years, 
which was made in the same place, there was time 
to sow wheat and plant vineyards. As a rule, however, 
the com and wine were purchased from the sedentary 
populations, for the nomad tribe frequently traversed 
regions iu which there were towns and resident in- 
habitants. Contracts and bargains were thcu made 
between the two.f These wealthy tribes, among 
whom a principle of order and of justice prevailed, were 
by no means displeasing to the resident inhabitants, 
and from their intercommunications often arose alli- 
ances, and even marriage proposals. J The flocks were 

* Judges, cb. v., v, 2-1. 

\ QeueEie, cb. xsxiv. 

} Qencsia, cb. xxxiv., notiDg at the same time the difieronco 
between the two combined carrativoa. Acoordlag to the Jehovist, 
Disah was not done violence to ; she wrs raerol; eloped wiib. 



b. 



THE NOMAD SEMITES. 



19 



formed of oxen, ewes, and goats, and the beast of 
burden waa the camel ; the animal uaed for riding, the 
ass. The horse appears to have been very rarely found 
among these tribes.* It was held in no esteem as a 
beast of burden, being regarded merely as an animal 
to be employed for purposes of amusement, or as a 
charger, for the use of kings and warriors. There 
were no wheeled vehicles of any kind. 

Intellectual culture did not exist, not at least as 
we understand it; writing was unknown,t and the 
requirements of these simple souls were very few. 
But tent life, bringing as it does individuals into 
perpetual communication with one another, and afford- 
ing them abundant leisure, is a school of its kind, 
especially as regards elegant diction and poetry. The 
poetry of the nomad Semites consisted in a syni- 
motrical partition of the phrase into parallel fractions 
and in the use of picked words. Even at this early 
period, assuredly, the tribes possessed small divans, 
composed of melodies of eight or ten verses relating 
to the incidents of their nomad life, analogous to the 
lasar of the Israelites and to the Kiiiib-d-Affhiini oi 
the Arabs. 

The real monuments of the period were, as is the 
case with all people who cannot write, the stones 
which they reared, the columns erected in memory of 



~ There is no mention of the horse in the enumcrDtion of the 
animsls whic:h constituted the fortune of Job. 

t The signet referred to (GanesiB, ch. xxxviii., v, 18) mnst be fta 
anacbrouism on the part of the Jehovist compiler. 



20 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

some event, and upon which was often represented a 
hand, whence the name of iad^* or heaps of stones, 
gal^ or galgal^^ the "heaps of evidence" [gale'ed^X 
according to a custom which still exists in the East. 
The name of these heaps was a memorial to future 
generations.§ Sometimes large trees of very ancient 
growth were chosen as memorials. 

This type of society, which has survived to our own 
day among the Arab tribes which have escaped any 
contamination from without, is too incomplete to 
have made much advance in the way of civilisation ; 
but at first it contributed materially to the foimdation 
of that which humanity most needed : honesty and 
the family instinct. In a society of this kind young 
men were of much less importance than with the 
Greeks ; the dominant figure was the elder, the sheik, 
who was the depository of wisdom and power. 
The type of perfection, as is still the case with the 
Arabs, was the staid, well-bom, well-bred, || very 
courteous^ aristocrat, who took a very serious view of 
life, and avoided all contact with rough and coarse 

* Gesenius, Thes.^ p. 668. Synonyms of n^ and of CU7, 
Samuel, booki., ch. xv.,v. 12 ; ch. xviii.^v. 18 ; Isaiah, ch. Ivi., v. 5. 

t Oalgalf or (jiUjal^ is only met with as the name of a place ; but 
this word is always accompanied by the definite article and 
associated with the idea of ancient and idolatrous worship. 

I Genesis, ch. xxxi., v. 45, and following. 

§ The same usage prevailed among the Touaregs, down almost 
to our own day. 

II Genesis, ch. xxiv. 

1i Many anecdotes as to the politeness of the Arabs will occur to 
the reader. 



THE NOMAD SEMITES. 21 

people. The outcome of all this was an essentially 
pacific disposition, something which was at once 
generous, proud, and loyal, a condition of mind 
denoting persons who were at peace with themselves, 
who were prepared to defend their own rights and 
respect those of others. The gradation from this to a 
carping, litigious, and selfish disposition was easy, 
and craft was, as a matter of fact, esteemed rather 
highly in this ancient world.* Prudence was the 
first of virtues ; untruthfulness was thought little of ; 
but the fear of a higher power, which certain crimes 
(murder and adultery) imtated, had already some 
effect. Religion implied a rudimentary moral code ; 
mysterious forces recompensed good deeds in a 
languid and intermittent way ; but these same forces 
in some cases visited ill-deeds with punishment. 

It was in this way of viewing religion that those 
pastoral tribes were superior to all the peoples of their 
day ; and it is on this account that they occupy the 
foremost place in the history of humanity. 

* Road the whole history of Jacob, a masterpiece of ethno- 
graphical psychology. Jacob is the very type of the Arammi 
obed (Deuteronomy, ch. xxvi., v. 5), or nomad Semite. 



CHAPTER III. 



RELIGIOUS CALLING OF THE KOMAD SEMITES. 



What Greece was as regards intellectual culture and 
Eome as regards politics, the nomad Semites -were as 
regards religion. It was by means of rtligion that 
these worthy pastoral tribes of Syria reached an 
exceptional position in the world. The promises made 
to Abraham are mythical only in form. Abraham, the 
imaginary ancestor of these tribes, was in reality the 
father in religion of all peoples. 

Man at the outset of his progressive life was in 
complete ignorance, and almost of necessity steeped 
in error. He was for thousands of years crnzy 
after having been for thousands of ycara an animal. 
He has scarcely even now emerged from childhood. 
Primitive astronomy, based merely upon observation, 
was but a tissue of deceptions. Thanks to a scien- 
tific development continued for centuries, man has 
succeeded in detecting the errors into which the aspect 
of the firmament had caused him to fall, notably the 
greatest of all, viz. that the earth was motionless. In 
regard to the moral order of things, the truth was 
much more difficult to discover, and a great many 
human brains are still refractory to it, At first man 



'HE NOMAD SEMITES. 



imagined space to te peopled with free and passionate 
forces, open to be invoked and moved from their 
purposes, Ee created a divine world in his own 
image, and treated the gods of it as he liked to be 
treated by his inferiors. There was an exchange of 
politeness between trembling man and the potent 
forces by which he believed himself to be surrounded. 
A constant course of experience, confirmed by exact 
science, has proved to us that this primitive hypothesis 
of free causes quite independent of us is altogether 
erroneous. No signs have been discovered in nature 
of any intelligent agent superior to man, Nature is 
inexorable ; its laws are blind. Prayer never encoun- 
ters any being that it can turn from its pui'pose. No 
prayer or aspiration has ever healed a disease or won 
a battle. But, in order to reach this truth, of which 
the learned men of Babylon perhaps caught a glimpse, 
and which the Greek philosophers saw to perfection 
as far back as 500 B.C., it was necessary that whole 
generations of learned men should combine their 
efforts. What sort of idea could they form of wind 
who had no notion as to the real existence of the air ? 
The nature of thunder was only discovered about a 
century ago ; how, then, could primitive man see in it 
aught else but the explosion of the wrath of an all- 
powerful being, dwelling in the clouds and on the 
summits of the mountains ? The sea, the water- 
courses, and the springs, having an individuality of 
their own, and acting as persons (we stUl speak of the 
sea as being angry, a spring as being beneficent, and 




HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



water as asleep), almost necessarily became personified. ' 
Birth, disease, death, dcliriunij a trance, sleep aud 
dreams made n, deep efi'ect upon the popular mind, as 
they atill do, and there are but a few who see that 
these phenomena have their rise in our own organisa- 
tion. The course of human affairs gave rise to even 
more en-oneous judgments. Accidents, good or bad 
luck, the bearing of children or sterility, wealth, 
success, ascendancy, aud authority, were interpreted 
as favoiirs accorded to man by superior beings, or as 
humiliations more or less capable of being warded off. 
Terror, panic, and lack of self-possession were the 
consequences of this very erroneous system of nature, 
and the adage, "Primus in orbe dcos fecit timor," is 
true to the letter. Man believed bimseLf to bo sur- 
rounded by enemies whom he endeavoured to appease. 
As his senses were scarcely at all developed, ho was 
the dupe of constant hallucinations. An imespected 
breath of wind, a sudden sound, were regarded by him 
as tokens. An exaggerated spiritualism led him to 
look for spirits everywhere, invisible beings, shadows 
or doubles of real things,* which pursued him wher- 
ever he went and became confounded in his mind with 
the subjective phenomena of his conscience. The 
type of such an existence as tliis is to be seen, or 
at any rate might have been studied a few years ago, 
in the Maldive Islands for one place. The natives of 
those poverty-stricken islets barricaded themselves in 

* RevUle's Rdiyion i!e» iieiiples tion dnlises, vol. i. *pp. 07 and 
foUofnng, pp. 228 and following; ; vol. ii. pp. 80 and following. 



RELIGION OF THE NOMAD SEMITES. 



their hiita of a night, believing that in the darkness 
the air was full of evil spirits whom they could hear 
fluttering about. The dread of darkness and othtr 
unreasoning fears, which are still very great among 
certain races of men, as, for instance, in Brittany, are 
the reduced remnants of what was originally a fact 
of the first impoi-tancc. 

Like all tho ancient peoples in history, the nomad 
Semite believed that ho was living amid a supernatural 
environment. The world, as he imagined, was sui-- 
rouuded, penetrated, and governed by the Elohim, hy 
myriads of active beings very analogous to tho 
*' spirits " of the savages, full of life, translucid, 
inseparable in a way from one another, with no 
distinct proper names like the Aryan gods, so that it 
was dif&cult not to regard them as a whole and con- 
found them all together. The polytheism of Greek 
and modern antiquity is not proved by the use of the 
plural dii, but by tho separate names of Zeus, Hermes, 
&o. One Eloh has no name to distinguish him from 
another Eloh, ao that all of them united act as one 
single being, and that the word Elohim is construed 
with the verb in the singular.* 

Elohim is everywhere ; his breath is universal life ; 
tiirough Elohim everything lives. "Whatever happens 
is hia (or theii-) work. He brings children into exist- 
ence ; he causes women to be fruitful ; \ he slays ; he 

* It waa the sama with nbs, with the Phronicians. Corpus 
inter, itmit., Ist part, pp. 6, 146. For other facts of a similar kind 
Bee Jourvnl asiatiqim, Feb.-March, 1859, pp. 218, and following. 

t Genesis, oh. xex., v. 2, 22; ch. xxsiii., v, 5. 



t6 msTonr of the people ot israel. 

(or they) is heard in tlie sounds which cannot be ex- 
plained ; he (or they) breathes forth terror.* The 
atmospheric phenomena, more especiallyj are his (or 
their) work. He is the subject of yerbs which are as 
a rule impersonal: "He thunders, he rains." j- The 
crash of the thunder is his voice, the lightning is his 
light ; whatever is great or extraordinary is ascribed 
to him. 

A very characteristic usage of Semitic monotheism 
is derived from this, and that is the habit of desig- 
nating Elohim merely by the pronoun of the third 
person. When this was done it was usual to pro- 
nounce the pronoun very emphatically, accompanied 
by a gesture heavenwards. The name of God thus 
became a kind of grammatical element of the Semitic 
languages, the perpetual subject, which there was no 
need to express in speech. % 

The proper names bore evidence of this pious cus- 
tom, names such as Abtkou (He is my father), Ellhou 
(He is my God), Abdo [i]ic servant of Him), DavJo 
(the favourite of Him), Ilanno (the grace of Him) ; 
names which became by^abbreviation Abd, or Obed, 
David, Hanan, &e.§ Man, as well as nature, was under 

* Genesis, ch. x\iv., v. 5 ; Joehus, eh. x., v. 10. 

+ Comp. [Zri's] Mi. 

I This occurs very frequently in the Book of Job, where God U 
frequently spoken of without any direct reference. See, for an 
instance of this, ch. sii., v. 13 nnd following; ch, xsm., v. 8 ; 
&nd particalarly the last speech of Bildad (ch, xzr,, v. 2 and 
following). 

§ See Jfi'm. tipon the ahbreviuted thoophoric Dames, in the 
Itnuf ilti ,tu,l(» jtiires, Oct-Dec, 1862. 



RELIGION OF THE NOMAD SEMITES. 17 

the immediate dependence of Elohim or of the elohim. 
Whatever befell him in the way of good or evil, un- 
expected catastrophes, or sudden death, came from on 
high. Heaven killed the wicked man, and was the 
general upholder of order in the universe. No doubt 
this Elohim of doubtful identity is still far removed 
from the just and moral God of the prophets ; but one 
can see that he will in due course become so, whereas 
Varouna, Zous, and Dicspiter will never succeed in 
becoming honest and just, and will eventually be aban- 
doned by those who worship them. 

It would be a great exaggeration to trace back to 
a very remote antiquity the purified and clear beliefs 
of philosophical spiritualism. The unity of causes 
was, to these perplexed consciences, no more than the 
indivisibility of causes. When we have um-avelled 
as far as possible the confusion of ideas which were 
mixed up in primitive psychology, wo find that the 
prayer of the terrified human being of those times 
found utterance in two forms of theology differing 
the one from the other. The Aryan when in peril 
addressed himself to the element which threatened 
danger or to the god which ruled this element. When 
at sea he invoked Poseidon or Neptune ; when sick 
ho made his ^■ows to Asclepios ; while he prayed to 
Demeter or Ceres for an abundant harvest. The Gauls 
had almost as many minor gods as there were medical 
or veterinary specialities. The number of these gods 
conseq^uently became enormous, and each of them had 
a distinct name of his own. The Semite, upon the 

VOL. I. E 



28 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

contrary, always invoked one and the same Being; 
whether at sea, or in battle^ or in dread of a storm, or 
smitten with disease, his prayer went up to the same 
God. One sovereign ruled over all things, but this 
sovereign bore different names in different tribes. In 
some cases he was called El^ or A lon^ or Eloah ; in other 
cases Elion^ Saddaty Baal, Adondi^ Ram^ Milik or 
Moloch* But all these names in reality have the same 
meaning ; they are nearly all of them synonymous ; they 
aU signify "the Lord," or "the All High," or "the 
Almighty ;" they mark some special excellence. They 
no more imply distinct individualities than do the 
different names of the Virgin Mary, Notre Dame de 
Carmely Notre Dame de Bon Secours^ Notre Dame die 
Pilier in Catholic countries. They are different words, 
not different gods.f Everywhere we find that it is the 
supreme master of the universe who is adored under 
these names in appearance so different. No doubt this 
notion of a supreme God was very vague, and "in no 
wise resembled the symbols of the Jew and the Mus- 
sulman. The usages of scholastic theology which we 
have had inculcated on us by the catechism had no 
existence for brains which were incapable of seizing 
any dogma. The elohim, which were generally bound 
together, sometimes exercised an isolated action. 

* See my essay on the primitive monotheism of the Semitic 
peoples, in the Journal asiatique, Feh.-March., March-April, 
1859. 

t Compare the names of the temples at Sidon, Malta, Carthage, 
Cojyus insc)\ seinit., part i., Nos. 8, 182, 247, 248, 249, 250, 
255. 



RELIGION OF THE NOJfAD SEMITES. 19 

They never were in opposition with one another ; 
but, like the angels of a much more modem mytho- 
logy, they often exercised different functions. Thus 
each tribe had its protecting god, whose function it 
was to watch over it, direct it, and promote its suc- 
cess in every oue of its enterprises. "Wc shall find 
the Beni-Israel attaching themselves, like all the 
ancient tribes, to this narrow idea, and their god 
becoming, in order to protect the tribe of bis choice, 
the most unjust and jealous of gods. The god of the 
tribe followed the individual even when lie left his 
tribe, and continued to be his god when he was upon 
the territory of strange gods.* There was some ana- 
logy between this and the personified Fortuna of the 
Roman families,! and, as a matter of fact, the pro- 
tecting gods were often called by the name of Gad 
(Fortune).* In this way the god was identified 
with the tribe, and the victories and defeats of the 
tribe were his own defeats and victories. If defeated, 
he was subjected to the insults of the conqueror, and 
no distinction was made between his name and that of 
the tribe. § 

* Te'imft Inscription in the Louvre, Nteldeke, AUaratn. Jn- 
schri/ten, Berlin, 1684. Tierue d'areh. 0}-imt(tU, 1885, pp. 41 and 

following. 

+ OreUi-Hcnzen, No. 1769. Cf. No. 5787 and Coi-p'is inser. 
or.. No. 2603 I. 

X Such as the Fortana of Tajm, at Palmyra. Cvnifte' rendim 
dt V.ii-miemie des Inscnptw»K rt Bdles-LcUm, April 2, 1869. 

§ Inscription of Mosn, lines 12, IS, 18. The title of book 
nin*" mnn'~2 : the song of Heshbon, Numbers, cb. xxi., v. 29. 



30 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



i local ] 



The god of the tribe was followed I 
presiding over a province, having his fixed dwelling- 
place and often his sanctuary (a column, an altar, a high 
place) at a given spot ; • very powerful in his own 
region, bo much so that those who were passing 
through it deemed it necessary to render him homage, 
if only to deter hini from doing them a bad tum-t A 
very oomraou expression among the nomads at a cer- 
tain epoch — the Salm, or the Baal, or the Moloch of 
such and such a placej — to designate the central point 
of a worship — was not perhaps as yet employed, but 
the people were coming to it. Jacob saw in hia dream 
*'the God of Bethel." § He did homage to the place 
where he had hia dream by erecting a pillar there, and 
pouring oil upon the top of it.K Thus the holy place 
dates from the utmost antiquity of Semitic worship. 

The consequence of all this was a certain religious 
eclecticism, of which we have the type in the priceless 
inscription discovered at Tcima, in the centre of 
Arabia.^I Salmsczab, the author of this inscription, 



* Telma Inscription (see tUo preceding page). 

+ Second Book of Kings, ch. xvii., v. 25 and following. 

J Teima Inscription. This form is very common in Aramaic 
epigraphy. See On-pui iix»cr. smnit., part i., 188, 805. 36(5; 
Conatantine, Casta, 12 ; Inacription d'Attil'uros {■JomtwiI auMiqae, 
April-Jane, 1987); de Vogiii', S(/n> Cinirnle. Jiiacriptioiiii «pihi- 
tvjuei, pp. 107 — 111. Compare Jeremiah, cb. li., v. 44. 

§ Genesis, ch, xxxi., v, 13, btW^t bsn. For the gram- 
matical qnestion see Gesenius, Lehrg., pp. 057, 658. 

II Genesis, ch. siviii,, v. 18, and following. 

II Stvue d'arch. orient., I.e. Compare the curions Sabean inscrip- 



RELIGION OF THE NOMAD SEMITES. 



not only stipulates for his right to sacrifice in foreign 
lands to his own god, whose priest he is, and whose 
name is embodied in his own; but he desires that the 
gods of these foreign countries, whose power he ac- 
knowledges, shall find pleasure in the sacrifices which he 
is about to offer to his own god, and shall regard these 
sacrifices as being offered to themselves. More than 
that, he desires that the holy place consecrated to his 
god may be under the protection of the gods of Tci'raa, 
and he founds upon foreign soil the worship of his own 
personal god, and sets apart, out of what we may call 
the public worship fund of the country where he is, a 
fixed sum (in palm-trees) for the worship of his 
personal god. The gods of Te'ima accept this singular 
bargain, become guarantors for it, and grant their pro- 
tection to Salmsezah. Jacob is not less simple iu what 
he did at Bethel, for we read in Genesis (ch. xxviii., 
V. 20-22), "If God will be with me, and will 
keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread 
to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to 
my father's house in peace ; then shall the Lord be my 
God ; and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, 
shall be God's house ; and of all that thou shalt give 
me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee." 

Facts of this kind must have been common at the 
time when the Semitic nomad tribes were divided 
between the worship of the family gods and the wor- 
ship of the provincial gods, having a more or less 

tion of Medain-Salib, No. 29 (D. H. Mailer, (Eh. Moiiatachrift 
Jur den Onent. November, 1884, p. 279). 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



territorial jurisdiction. Eutb, the Moabite, upon 
reaching laraelitish soil, adopted outright the god of 
Israel ; but heads of families and persons of impor- 
tance were doubtless more particular, and this must 
often have given rise to rather complicated bargains. 
It is very possible that during the reign of Solomon 
several conventions of this kind were made at Jeru- 
salem, and it may be that in the very temple of 
Solomon Tynans sacrificed to Baal, upon the assump- 
tion that these sacrifices were not displeasing to 
lahveh. 

These individual selections, this particularising of 
the divine nation, so contrary to the idea which the 
Semites ultimately propagated through Juilaism and 
Islamiam, did not prevent the Elohim who were 
grouped in dii coiiscnle^ from forming a superior 
power which inspired universal dread, Tho men of 
every tribe recognised their supreme authority, and 
stood in awe of them. They were supposed to be 
capable of punishing crimes which would never be 
known to men;* so much so that the fear of elohim 
(or of Elohim) prevented many evil deeds. They saw 
everything, being scattered over all the earth, and 
tiioy therefore bad knowledge of and traced out a 
host of misdeeds, which escaped human justice. They 
thus constituted a sort of secret tribunal. The acci- 
dents without any apparent cause, the maladies, the 
sudden deaths and other disasters, were regarded as 
the acts of justice done by the Elohim. The word 
'■'- GeneBis, cb, xs., v. II. 



33 

t/irea, "fear," inferring as it did an imknown 
world behind it, was synonymous with " piety."* 
The commission of a crime entailed a constant 
apprehension of what the elohiin would do.f To 
fear God was to believe in the reality of the moral 
sense ; a man who feared God was a conscientious 



Sometimes the elohim were called Beni-Eiohhii, "the 
sons of the gods, the divine race." "VVTien the elohim 
became a single being, of definite individuality, the 
Beni-Elohim became Iiis host, a great body of angels, in 
perfect communion with him, coming now and then 
before him to do him worship.^ Some of them had 
personal duties assigned to them, especially Satan, or the 
detractor, who was engaged in finding fault with the 
universe, while the true childi-en of God could see only 
its harmonies. But it took centuries to establish any 
sort of order or hierarchy in this divine chaos. 

Such a conception, to which our formularies have as 
a matter of course given a eousistency which it did not 
before possess, was very superior to that which there are 
good grounds for attributing to the Aryans, not but what 
Semitic theology is infinitely removed from that which 
positive science has caused to prevail. If science has 
driven from the world the special and the local gods, 

I it has not in any way given a helping hand to the 
hypothesis of a single providence, concerning itself in 



• Job, ch. iv., 
t GenesiB, cb. : 
X iTob, ch. i,, V 



; ch. sv., 



: compare Genesis, ch.i 



, 1 and following. 



34 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, 

detail with the particular occurrences of this universe. 
It has never been discovered that a superior being 
concerns himself with events either of the physical 
or moral order. But this simplicity constituted, to 
begin with at all events, a yoke less heavy than that of 
the Aryan religion. The nomad Semites were, of all 
the ancient peoples about whom we know anything, 
the least given to idolatry, or to the gross superstitions 
of sorcery. The Aryan race did not display any of the 
superiority in religion which it was destined to exhibit 
later in other ways. In its infancy we find it half 
demented with terror. The absurd tantra^ the all- 
powerful form, were paramount with it.* The various 
manifestations of nature are forces which have to be 
overcome. The Greeks alone succeeded in correcting 
themselves of a defect of which they were at first no 
freer than others. The Latins and the Italiots prac- 
tised even up to our era the most childishly materialist 
religion. The Gauls were the most superstitious of 
peoples. The horrible ferocity of the Scythians was in 
a great measure due to their exaggerated belief in the 
survival of the individual after death. 

The belief in the spiritualism of the soul and in 
immortality, far from being the outcome of refined 
reflection, are in reality childish conceptions of men 
incapable of making a serious analysis of their ideas^ 
The fundamental error of the savage, as I have already 
said, is spiritism, that is to say the stupidly realistic 

"• Take, as a proof of this, the Vedas, the Gallic, Italiot, Scan- 
daDaviaD, and other religions. 



RELIGION OF THE NOMAD SEMITES. 



opinion which leads him to believe that in everything 
complex there is a spirit wliich forms its unity. A 
house, a tree, a ship, each has its spirit. It is the 
principle of form opposed to matter, the base of the 
Greet as of every other philosophy, which, wrongly 
conceived by nide intellects, produces these abberra- 
tions. It appears quite clear that the primitive 
Aryan was much more given to spiritism than the 
primitive Semite; and that he personified far better the 
natural unities. For him everything had a soul, and 
ho distinguished between the body and the soul in 
man, admitting that the one could exist without the 
other. The Semite soon formed a sounder theory. lu 
his view that which did not breathe did not live. Life 
was the breath of God pervading the universe.* So long 
as it is in thenostriisof man, this latter lives.f "When the 
breath mounts up again to God, all that remains is a 
little clay. The spiritualist tendency of the early ages 
reasserted itself in the belief in the refaim^ the vain 
shadows of the dead which are buried in the earth ; but 
none of these things became a principle giving birth 
to mythology or fables. A rough outline of prema- 
ture common sense preserved this race of men from the 
chimeras in which other human families foiind at times 
their greatness, at other times their ruin. 

In these great and complex questions of the origin 
of things, it is nearly always impossible to distinguish 

" Compnre the passages in which the lioiiah Eloliim is epoken 

or. 

t Job, ch. xxvii., v. S. 



36 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

between that which was due to the primitive gifts of 
the [race and that which the incidents of history have 
grafted on to them. The causes of Semitic mono- 
theism were more compound than simple, and it will 
probably be safe to attribute a larger share to the 
habits of a nomad life than to the influence of blood. 
For, upon the one hand, peoples who have nothing 
Semitic about them, but who lead a life analogous to 
that of the nomad Semites, such as the Kirghiz, or the 
present inhabitants of the upper basin of the White 
Nile, resemble very closely the ancient patriarchs of 
the desert. Upon the other hand, the Himyarites 
and Assyrians of the second age, who, at all events 
so far as language is coticerned, arc thoroughly 
Semitic, do not exhibit the religious puritanism found 
in the nomad Semites. It appears then that tent life 
was the main factor in the selection of the religious 
aristocracy which destroyed paganism and converted 
the world to monotheism. The roots of this great fact 
go deep down into the soil of ancient history. The 
tent of the Semite patriarch was the starting point of 
the religious progress of humanity. 

It may be said of the nomad that he is at once the 
most religious and irreligious of men. His faith is the 
firmest that there is; twice it has conquered the 
world, and yet, to judge from externals, it would seem 
as if his religion was a sort of minimum^ a quintessence, 
a residue, a congeries of negative precautions. Worship 
holds but a very small place in the life of the nomad ; 
a superficial observer is tempted to regard this proud 



RELIGION OF THE NOMAD SEMITES, 37 

vagrant as being indifferent, not to say sceptical.* 
His mode of life made it impossible for him to have 
statues and temples. His gallant bearing and instincts 
inspired him with a horror of superstition and abject 
practices. His philosophic reflection, pursued with 
intensity in a narrow circle of observation, imparted to 
him very simple ideas, and as it is the nature of reli- 
gious progress always to simplify, the immediate result 
was that the religion of the nomad became more intense 
than that of peoples more civilised than himself. The 
nomad Semite was a Protestant, and many of the 
populations which adopted Protestantism about the 
sixteenth century were far from equalling in intellec- 
tual culture the Italy of the time of Leo X. Eeligious 
abjection was repulsive to them, and this fine feeling 
afterwards brought its reward and has been placed to 
their credit. 

* Such is essentially the character of the nomad Arab. I have 
dwelt upon this in detail in my Melanges dliistoires et de voyages^ 
pp. 805 and following. 



CHAPTER IV. 

MONOTHEISM, ABSENCE OF MYTHOLOGY. 

With a certain type of language of its own, tho 
Semitic, like the Aryan, seems, as we see, to have at 
first had for its common share a certain type of reli- 
gion. The fundamental idea of this religion was the 
supremacy of one common master in heaven and earth. 
All this remained very vague and confused up to the 
ninth century B.C., but it was, none the less, in the 
germ from the very first, and was due mainly, as I 
have said, to the character of the nomad life which 
impresses upon all races without distinction so deep a 
mark. One very decisive proof of this was the little 
liking which nomads as a rule have for figures in 
painting or sculpture. A nation which has figured 
presentments before it almost infallibly becomes idola- 
trous. The interdict placed upon them by the Hebrew 
legislators may be said to have been imposed upon the 
nomads by the very laws of their existence. Nomad 
life made impossible the paraphernalia necessary for 
an idolatrous worship ; the pantheon must be as port- 
able as the douar^ and the Bedouin's habits limited 
him to a few insignificant teraphmiy and a portable ark 
in which the sacred objects were enclosed. 



MONOTHEISM. ABSENCE OF MVTHOLOGV. J9 

"What was wanting in the Semite far more even than 
a taste for the plastic arts was mythology,* which, quite 
as much as painting and sculpture, is the mother of 
polytheism. The principle of mythology is the invest- 
ing of words with life ; whereas the Semitic languages 
do not readily lend themselves to personifications of 
this kind. A feature in the peoples who speak them 
is a want of fertility hoth of imagination and language. 
Each word was, to the primitive Aryan, pregnant, if 
I may so speak, and comprised within itself a potent 
myth. The subject of such phrases as, " Death struck 
him down," "a malady can-ied him off," '* the thunder 
roars," " it rains," &c., was, in his oyos, a being doing 
in reality the deed expressed by the verb. In the 
eyes of the Semite, upon the contrary, all the facts the 
cause of which is unknown have one same cause. All 
phenomena, more especially those of meteorology, 
which had so deep an interest for primitive peoples, 
were ascribed to the same being. In regard to life, 
the same breath animated all things. The thunder 
■was the voice of God ; the lightning was his light ; 
the storm cloud his "\-ciI ; hail the missiles of his 
wrath. Eain, in all the primitive mythologies of the 
Indo-European race, is represented as the fruit of the 
union of heaven and earth. In the Hook of Job, which 
is the expression of a very ancient theologj', it is God 
who opens the windows of heaven, who has "divided 
the water-courses for the overflowing of waters," and 

■ See Journal awiiii'i/tic, April-May. 1859, pp. 426 and follow- 
ing. 



40 mSTORy OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

"hath begotten the drops of detc."* Aurora, in tha ' 
Aryan mythologies, is the object of an extraordinary 
number of myths, in whicli she is assigned a personal 
part and assumes many different names. She is the 
daughter of Night ; she is espoused by the Sun ; she 
begets Tithciuus, or the Day ; she loves Kephaloa (the 
large head, the Sun) ; she has for her rival Procris (the 
Dew) ; she flies from the pursuit of the Sun, and is 
destroyed by his embrace. In the Book of Job, upon 
the contrary, God eommanded the morning and sealed 
the stars, and set light and darkness their respective 
limit8.-|- 

Nearly all the roots of the Aryan languages thus 
contained an embryo divinity, whereas the Semitic 
roots are dry, inorganic, and quite incapable of giving 
birth to a mythology. When one fully realises the 
power of the root dii'^ designating the brightness of 
the clear sky, one can readily understand how from 
this root have come dies, dtvum (sub dio), Dcva, Zem, 
Jupiter, Diespiter, Dinuspiter. The words Agnl 
(ignis), Varovna {ovpavos), Ge or De (Atifi}p-tip), also 
contained the germ of indi\'idualities which, becoming 
further and still further removed from their primitive 
naturalist meaning, in time, and after the lapse of 
centuries, got to be no more than mere personages of 
chance.J It would be idle to attempt to derive a 

* Job, ch. xxxvi., sxxvii., xxsviii. 
t Job, ch. xi., V. 7; oh. xx3E\-iii., v. 12—15, 19—20. 
t ^'omirta numinii, to employ the espreBBion so often used by 
Engine Burnoaf. 



MONOTHEISM, ABSENCE OF MYTHOLOGY. +i 

theology of the same order from the most essential 
words of Semitic languages, such as or, "light;" 
Mtfi«, " the heavens ; " ai% " the earth ; " n«r, "fire." 
None of the names of the Semitic gods is connected 
■with any such words as these. The roots in this 
family of languages are, if I may say so, realistic and 
non-transparent; they tiid not lend themselves to me- 
taphysics or mythology. The difficulty of explaining 
in Hebrew the simplest philosophical notions in the 
Book of Job and in Ecclesiastes is something quite 
astonishing. The physical imagery which, in the 
Semitic languages, is still almost on the surface, 
obscures abstract deduction and prevents anything 
like a delicate background in speech. 

The impossibility of the Semitic languages to express 
the mythological and epic ^conceptions of the Aryan 
peoples is not less striking. One fails to realise what 
Homer or Hcsiod would be like if translated into 
Hebrew. This is because, with the Semites, it is not 
merely the expression, but the train of thought itself, 
which is profoundly monotheistic. The foreign my- 
thologies become transformed under Semite treatment 
into dull historical narratives. Euhcmerism is their 
sole system of interpretation, as we see in Berosus, 
Sanchoniathon, and all the other writers who have 
transmitted details npon the Syrian and Babylonian 
myths, in the Arab historians and polygraphers, and 
in the first pages of Genesis itself.* This singular 

" See my memoir on SanchoniatiioQ in the ili'inoira de I'Acadi- 
me ilet Inscripiiom, vol. ixiii., part 2. 1858. 



HISTORY OB THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



system is due to the most ilucp-rooted laws of their 
intellectual constitution. For monotheism ia of necea- 
sify euhemerist iu its estimates of the mythological 
religions. Umlfratanding nothing of the primitive divi- 
niHatioii of tlu' forces of nature, whieh was the source of 
all mythology, it had only one way of giving a meaning 
to thcBo gi-eat constructions of ancient genius, and 
that was to look upon them as so much embellished 
history, and as so many series of deified men. 

This callow philosophy contained, it should be added, 
only one error ; it exaggerated beyond measure the 
notion of the intentional intervention of superior forces 
in the currcut of human affairs. The nomad Semitic 
race was the religious race }mr exeelleikce, because it 
was, taking it altogether, the least superstitious of the 
humau families, less of a dupo than auy other to the 
dream of the hereafter, of that phantasmagoria of a 
double or of a shadow which survived in the regions 
below. It rigorously put away from it those human 
sacriticos which the city-dwelling Semites indulged 
in quito^as much as the Aryans. It regarded as of 
quite secondary importance amulets and idols ; it 
supprosHed the chimeras of complete survival after 
doatli, chimeras which were homicidal iu those days, 
as they deprived mxn of the true notion of death 
und caused him to be very indifferent to how many 
murders he committed.* Yes, even at this remote 
epoch of which I am now speaking, the Semite shepherd 

* Sou Hurodotus'g account of the royal Scj-tluAQ^. Dook iv.. 



I 



bore upon his forehead the seal of the absolute God, 
upon which was written, " This race will rid the earth 
of superstition." 

The simplicity in worship of these ancient pastors has 
never been equalled. In the way of material images, 
the nomad Semite had only the nesb or masseba,* 
columns placed in the groiind, whieh were consecrated 
by pouring oil upon the summit of them-f These awswi 
covered the whole of ancient Arabia, especially the re- 
gion of Mecca ; previous to the time of Mahomet* thoy 
were looked upon as gods. "When the tribe decamped it 
left these gods of stone behind it, and those who came 
after it treated them with the same respect. Sacrifice 
is the oldest and most serious error, as it is the one 
most difficult to eradicate, among those bequeathed to 
us by the state of folly which humanity passed through 
in its infancy. Primitive man (without distinction of 
race) believed that the way to calm the unknown 
forces which surrounded him was to win them over 
aa men are won over, by making them some present. 
This was not unnatural, for these gods whom he wanted 
to make favourable to him were evil-disposed and 
selfish. The idea that it was a cruel insult to try and 
corrupt them, as one might do a corrupt judge, woidd 

■= See Corpus inter, smiit., part i., Nos. 44, 122. and 122 bis, 
128 Mid 123 ii», 139, 147, 194, 196, 380 ; 9th of Hadrametos, 
Eating, Pun. Stcine, 26, 27. 

f GeneBiB, ch. xxviii., v. 16 ; cb. xxxi., v. 18; cb. sxxv., v. 1, 



7 ; ch. liil, v. 4. 




X Koran, v., 4, 92 


Freytag, Lex 


tmrit., part L, p. 164. 




VOL. I. 


F 



, p. 286 ; Corpia 



4f HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

never suggest itself to beings of such low morality and 
BO devoid of reasoning power. If a man was oaten 
out by cancer, it wat? a god wbo was eating his flesh ; 
what more natural, then, than to ofifer him fresh meat 
of a better kind. The object offered in sacrifice is 
always that which the man himself wonid like to have 
offered him. The Soma is, in the Hindoo language, 
aomething exquisite. The animal killed upon the 
altar \a always excellent, without spot ; the parts 
which are burnt are those which are esteemed the 
most highly. This revolting absurdity, which the 
first apparition of religious common sense should have 
swept away, had become an act of subjection, a sort of 
homage paid by man towards tho Divinity, which the 
patiiarchnl faith did not succeed in shaking itself free 
of. The prophets of the eighth century b.c. were 
the first to protest against this aberration, and even 
then they could not suppress it. 

lu most cases, moreover, the sacrifice was only the 
preliminary of a repast to which it was desired that a 
special solemnity should be given.* The animal 
ofiered to the Divinity, or rather what remained of it 
after the choice morsels had been burnt, was eaten 
either by the family alone or by any guests who might 
be present. It ivas the same with the peoples -de- 
scribed by Homer, t and in nearly the whole of antiquity. 
To eat in common was a sacramental act. Thus, for 

* QenesiB, cb. ixvi., v. 80, 81 ; ch, sxxii., v. 54; Exodna, ch. 
xviii., V. 12. 

t mad, i., 464—469 ; Orfi/wri/, iii., 461—463, 470—472 ; xiv., 
425—453; EaripideB, Js7ec(m, 885 and following. 



AWNOTHEltM, . 

instance, in order to consecrate " a heap of witness," 
bread was eaten upon the top of the stones so piled up.* 
The compacts and alliances made were celebrated to the 
accompaniment of solemn sacrifices, during which the 
animals offered up were cut into two parts, the one 
being placed opposite to the other, while the contract- 
ing parties passed between them.f In very special 
circumstances, it was helieved that a mysterious fire, 
equivalent to the acceptance of the sacrifice by the 
divinity, passed between the pieces of the animal slain.J 
The tribe had no priests or professional sacrificers. 
The patriarch sacrificed for himself, his sons, and all 
the tribe. Preparation was made for the sacrifice by a 
state of saintliness (yoi/s) or of purification, resulting 
from certain acts of external cleanliness, and certain 
acts of abstinence, notably from sexual indulgence.§ 
Cleanliness was, in the primitive faith, one of the 
essential conditions for drawing near to God, and one 
of the first measures of the legislator was, by prevent- 
ing people from eating what was unclean, to wean them 
from habits which encouraged what was gross.|| It is 
probable that the more respectable of the tribe had, at 



* Genesis, cb. xxxi., v. 46. 

\ Genesis, cb. xv., v. 10—17 ; Exodos, ch. zziv., t. 6. 'OpKia 
Tiora TKfiovTtc. Uiad, \\. 124; iii. 105; Jeremiah, cb. xxsiv., 
V, 18 ; Demosthenes, Ai\>. Arktocr., 6S ; Pausanias, IV., xv., 4. 

i Genesis, ch. xv., v. 17; a very ancient legend. Compare ibe 
sacrifices of Balaam, Nambers, cb. xxii. and xxiii. 

§ EsodQB, cb. xis., v. 10 and (oUowlng ; seo tbe example of 
Laocoon in Greek history. 

{I C'adibm et eictu/icdo, 

r2 



46 



mPLE OF ISRAEL. 



that early period, given up drinking blood.* Upon holy 
days no leavened bread was eaten, fermentation and 
mixtures being regarded as more or less impure.^ 

The nomad had few festivals; the festival (Aay) 
implying a fixed religious centre. The idea of )uig is 
closely connected with that of pilgiimago, of proces- 
sions around a sanctuary, and of dancing in a circle. 
This word, common to all the Semitic languages 
without exception, unquestionably dates from the 
ancient epoch in which the common ancestors of the 
Hebrews, the Arabs, and the Arameans all lived 
within a very limited area. 

Together with the word hag all the Semitic peoples 
use the word som or sowm, signifying the fast, the 
presentation of one's self to the divinity, who is sup- 
posed to see everything, with an air of contrition and 
with mourning garments. The Elohimwere supposed 
to be in some measure jealous of the happiness of 
mortals, so that a certain satisfaction was accorded 
to theii* nemesis by appearing before them with con- 
trition and self-imposed humiliation. The garments 
of the afflicted (the s«y)J and the heaping of ashes on 



" A prcBcriptlon earlier than any written code. First book of 
Samuel, ch. xiv., v. 31, and GcneBia, ch. ix., v. -1. 

t The Book of the Alliante (9th centurj') contains the germ of 
these prescriptions. The Levitical version ia mach more modern, 
bat it merely re^atere the existence of ancient asages. 

X This word, which has been adopted by all the Mediterranean 
people, in conseqaence of their trade with the PhoiniciaiiB, was 
applied to very coarse cloth of a dark colour. They were after- 
wards named Cilicium, being principally made In Ciliois. 



MONOTHEISM, ABSENCE OF MFTHOLOGY. 47 

the head, or the shaving of the head,* were the 
forced accompaniment of the fast. The prayer of the 
man wearing the saq was regarded as being very 
efficacious ; for Elohim would surely have pity upon 
one reduced to so sad a state, who could not in any 
way give him umbrage. In public calamities, more 
especially, the som and the saq were invariably re- 
sorted to-t In very ancient times the som was observed 
at certain periods of the year. The institution of the 
month of fasting among the Arabs was very anterior 
to Islamism. Thus the som appears as a monotheistic 
practice. The only being to whom fasting can be 
acceptable is the supreme God. It is a general rite, 
and no one particular god would have any means of 
distinguishing that the homage was addressed to him 
more than to any other deity. 

The oldest cycle of the Semitic festivals was 
governed by agriculture, and even the nomads were 
guided by this habit. The^tts^A, or spring festival, J 
characterised by the use of unleavened bread, may 
perhaps have just begun to dawn. The shearing of 
the ewes, in David's time,§ may almost be regarded 
as a festival. The vintage was celebrated by dancing.|| 
The custom of sounding the trumpet at each new 
moon, and of posting sentinels to obscn'o the first 



'* AmoB, ch, viii., v, 10 
\ Jadgee, cb. xx., v. 21 
lb. sxxi., V. 18 ; Joel, ch. i. and 
X Leviticns, ch. xxiii., v. 9 — £ 
^ Second Book of Samael, ch. 
II jGdL'Cfi, ch. ii., V. 27; ch. 



First Book of Samne!, ch. vii., 

; ancient fragment. 

iii., V. 23, ifec. 

i., V, 20 and followmg. 



48 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

appearance of the "sickle" — a very useful custom 
among a people knowing nothing of scientific astro- 
nomy — may have already been in existence. In any 
event, the appearance of the new moon was made the 
occasion for sacrifices and festivals,* The Sabbath 
was so useless to the nomads, whose labour was essen- 
tially of an intennittent kind,t that the ancient 
nomad Semites probably did not observe it, although 
they saw this wholesome practice observed in Assyria. 
Some other rites, common to all Semitic creeds, seem 
to attest the unity of these reUgions and their patri- 
archal origin. Such are tho Saktea of the Phoenicians, 
and of the Babylonians,J festivals, which were annually 
celebrated under the tent, and which remind one of the 
feast of tabernacles of the Hebrews. Leviticus speaks 
of this festival as being a memorial of the ancient 
nomad life of the Hebrews.§ This explanation has 
been met by the objection that the booths mado of 
houghs would be a very inaccurate representation of 
a sojourn in Arabia Petrtea, But at a period much 
earlier than the compiling of the Book of Leviticus, 
in the book of Hosea,|| the same comparison is made, 
and instead of huts made of boughs, tabernacles arc 



i 



■■ First Book of Samuel, ch. xs., v. 6, 18, 24. 
i Tbe nomnd Arabs of the East are scarcely at all acqaainted 
with tbe Mnssdman Friday. 

J "Eopri; Sowiuiv = niDOn an. See Movers, Die Ret. der 
Phffu., pp. 480 and following. 
I Leviticna, cb. xxiii, v. 42, and following, 
li Eoeea, ch. xii., v. 10. 



MONOTHEISM, ABSENCE OF MYTHOLOGY. 40 

epoken of.* There is therefore good reason for 
regarding this feast of tabernacles as a souvenir of the 
primitive life common to all the Semitic peoples, being 
preserved even among those who had travelled the 
farthest away from it. 

The jiflJij or man inspii'cd by God (sorcerer, diviner 
of the future, or prophet), had no place in a society 
where the father of the family had absolute power. 
The patriarch would assuredly have prevented the 
Mdi/, as he did the cohen, from acquiring an important 
position or endangering his own supremacy. Prophecy 
does not appear to have developed except among the 
tribes already established. The bcHef in revelations 
through dreams was universal, and the gift of explain- 
ing them was also a revelation. "f Man protected by a 
god did all his acts under the inspiration of this familiar 
demon. It was in dreams for the most part that the 
voice of his god spoke to hira.J Certain trees, such as 
the turpentine tree, were regarded as fatidical, because 
they had deep roots in the ground and seemed to be 
old.§ . 

A sort of deism without metaphysics was what the 
fathers of Judaism and Islamiam inaugurated at that 
early period, with a very sure and unerring instinct. 

* a''bnM. 

+ Genesia, ch. xl., v. 8 ; ch. xli., v. 28, 82, 88, 39. 

X Job, ch. xxxiii., v. IS. It was doabtleaa in dreams that 
Camos Bpoko to Ueaa : HTDS "h "iian. Inscr., Daiboa, lines 14, 
82. 

§ Klun More, Elon Mamiv, Eton Meonenan, Judges, ch. ix,. 



so mSTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

This god of theirs, formed by a fusion of the nameless ' 
gods, will become the absolute God who Ioycb what is 
good and hates what is evil, the God whose worship is 
prompted by an honest heart. Tho inroad of the 
scientific mind within the laat century has made a 
great change in the relation of things. "What was an 
advantage has become a drawback. The Semitic mind 
and intellect have appeared as hostile to experimental 
science and to research into the mechanical causes 
of the world. In appearance nearer than Paganism to 
the rational conception of the universe, the theology 
of the nomad Semite, transported into scholastic minds, 
has been in reality more injurious to positive science 
than polytheism. Paganism persecuted science less 
bitterly than the monotheistic religions originating 
with the Semites. Islam was the destruction of posi- 
tive philosophy, which attempted to struggle into 
being among some of the peoples which it had sub- 
jected.* Christian theology, with its Bible, has, for 
the last three centuries, been the worst enemy of 
science. Nothing can be more dangerous, in one 
sense, than what is half absurd and half true ; for 
humanity is but of middling force ; it tlu'ows up too 
strong a poison ; it drags life on with the dose of stu- 
pidity which is not sufficient to kill it. It is all a 
question of time and age, Islam represents progress 
to the negro who adopts it. Eliphaz of Theman, 



• I have dweh in detail npon this point in my Coti/cr> 
Diieourt, pp. 675 and following. 



MONOTHEISM, ABSENCE OF MYTHOLOGY. 51 

though holding with regard to the universe ideas tho 
most opposite to the truth, wag very superior, for the 
time in wliich he lived, to tho superstitious Gaul or 
to the Italiot, as he is described to us in the Eugu- 
binc tablets and the hymns of the Arvales rratrea. 
And yet, for all that, the positive science of nature 
will be found to proceed far more readily from the 
genius of Gaul or of Italy than from that of Theman. 
A Breton peasant is far more of an unconscious Pagan 
than a Mussulman ; and yet a very little schooling 
will make the Breton peasant into a man of good sound 
reasoning, readily understanding positivist naturalism, 
whereas the Mussulman can only be brought to a con- 
ception of this sort with the utmost difficulty, and 
rejects it as an abomination. 

And yet these ancient patriarchs of the Syrian 
deserts were in reality corner-stones for humanity. 
They are the " trismegists " of religious history, 
Judaism, Christianity, and Islamisra all proceed from 
them. The essential point, for a nation as well as for 
an individual, is to have an ideal behind it. The 
branches of the Semitic family which had gone tlu-ough 
the nomad life retained their recollection of it after they 
had emerged from it, and carried their minds back to 
it as to an ideal. The descendants of these ancient 
puritans of the desert could not tear away their 
thoughts from the paradise inhabited by their fore- 
fathers. "We are all of us beset by the thought of 
what we sprung from. The charm of patriarchal life 
had an invincible spell over the imagination of tho 



SI HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

Buccecdiag ct;nturics.* This mode of existence stood 
out ns being cBscntially uoble and pure — purer, no 
doubt, than it was in reality, and the more ardent 
minds were constantly yearning to go back to it. The 
march towards monotheism, which was the whole 
circulus of the life of these peoples, is in reality nothing 
more than a return to the intuition of their early 
history. Henceforth the tendency of the Semitio 
peoples, who are the most richly endowed with the 
spirit of the race, will bo to rejuvenate the visions of 
iliis distant past. 

The branch whose history I am relating will more 
particularly bo found fi-om age to age impelled by the 
desire to reconstitute this patriarchal state in which 
guporstition, social complications, and the violence of 
the wealthy will effect a sweeping change. The author 
of the Book of Job finds his conception of religious per- 
fection in the practices of the desert. The Eeehabites 
set themselves up for carrying on the traditions of the 
ancient mode of life, and were very highly esteemed 
on that account. The schism of the northern tribes, 
after Solomon's I'oign, was due to the instinctive repug- 
nance wliich they felt for straying away from the path 
which their forefathers trod. We shall find tlie school 
of Elias or Elisha founding tho whole movement of 
the following centuries upon a reaction towards the 

* We oamo oue dtiy, nbile traveUicg in Syria, apon n Bedouin 
one am pm out. My moii, ^^ho were not any of them nomads, were 
soizod with Buddcu cnthaBiasm. and greeted these yagraata aa 
brelluroD of more noble sUtos than themeelves. 



d 



MONOTHEISM, ABSENCE OF MYTHOLOGr. S3 

past. The greater prophets, who were the purest 
representatives of the spirit of race, made this their 
programme ; the Mosaic Thora, in its different ages, 
was an Utopian reversion to^rtarda the patriarchal ideal, 
to a society in which there should he neither rich nor 
poor, neither sovereigns nor subjects ; in a word, to the 
ancient tribal system, founded solely upon the family 
and upon the association of congeneric families. 
It is certain that the primitive nomad was more ad- 
vanced in religious matters than David and Omri ; he 
knew nothing of the cruel laUveh ; human sacrifices, 
in which the national deity delighted, did not exist at 
all, or at all events had not the character of sheer 
extermination. 

It often happens that the ideal of a people Is & jmori 
in its aim, a chimera which that people puts before it 
in order to stimulate itself to reach this aim. Tor the 
peoples who descended from the tent of the patriarchs, 
on the contrary, their ideal was behind them ; and it 
was one which they saw in actual existence among the 
tribes which had retained their nomad mode of life. 
They did not, therefore, create a myth when they 
drunk in tho stories of the oldest patriarchal life J 
they were rather recalling a memory, and this memory 
of a lost purity and happiness was ever tempting them 
to revert to a state, the perfection of which had 
assuredly been exaggerated, hut which had left an 
indelible trace upon the character of the nation. 



CHAPTEE V. 



ANCIEHT BABYLONIAN INFLUENCE, 

As a rule, a powerfully organised civilisation, girt by 
barbarians or nomads, exercises two opposing influ- 
ences upon these populations. It at once attracts and 
repels them. It attracts them by the thousand and 
one advantages which an active form of civilisation 
offers to poor persons in a state of dire distress. It 
repels them by an air of hardness and immorality. 
This is the feeling of the Arabs in Algeria, who, 
while reeognising the material superiority of French 
society, regard it with nothing but disgust, deeming it 
to be devoid of any high principle and to be a reflection 
upon the liberty of action of an honourable man, who 
should not allow himself to be thus ticketed and 
numbered. Ever since civilisation has gained the 
mastery in the world, this view can but lead to 
the ruin of the human families which make it the 
limit of their vision. But, in the early ages, such a 
sentiment was often of a preservative tendency. 
Through it the Semitic tent succeeded in keeping 
itself pure from many abominations, the remains of 
primitive bestiality, and from the aberrations which 



I 



ANCIENT BABYLONIAN INFLUENCE. 55 

accompanied the first delirious ideas of a dawning 
conscience. Probity was of more value than it is at 
the present time for the general work of progress. It 
was a delicate little plant, not acclimatised anywhere, 
menaced with destruction wherever it grew, without 
which the human culture could not flourish. What- 
ever protected it served to forward the progress of 
true civilisation. 

As a rule, the nomad hordes which, as we have 
seen, bore within them, simple shepherds as they 
were, a lofty moral principle, lived side by side with 
societies already established that did not in any way 
become mixed with them. These small groups of 
simple creatures had a sort of horror for what they 
did not understand. Egypt, and Assyria more espe- 
cially, were to them unfathomable depths. The enor- 
mous number of slaves and functionaries must have 
been revolting to them, while the gigantic buildings 
struck them as sheer acts of folly and of imdue pride. 
But in most cases the attraction proved too strong. 
The tribe assented to certain conditions of authority, 
and sought its sustenance in the interstices of a greater 
society than itself. It must be remarked that these 
ancient civilisations were not as compact as our own ; 
they had internal gaps in which the nomad could find 
room, and which seemed as it were to invite him to 
occupy them. It was in this way that Egypt has 
always attracted the Arabs, and has found room for 
them in its administrative system, apparently so closely 
filled in. The population of Babylonia does not ap- 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

r pear to have been at all dense ; * sbeplicrd bands could 
f easily occupy a place in the country analogous to that 
I of the Bedouins of the present day in Syria and Egypt, 
I or of tho Tziganes in those countries where thoy are 
the most numerous. 

Among the nomad Semites who migrated from 
I Arabia into the more favoured countries bordering 
1 upon the Mediterranean, some arrived direct from 
Arabia, while others, stopped by the great desert, 
made a circuit along tho Euphrates and reached Syria 
at Mabug and Aleppo, after having made a more or 
I less lengthened sojourn upon Babylonian soil. This 
I Bojoum made a deep mark upon them. The prevalent 
I language of Babylonia had for a long time been the 
I Semitic idiom known as Assyrian. It is doubtful 
■whether the tribes speaking the Hebrew or Aramaic 
languages were able to understand it. But the civi- 
lisation which these tribes had before their eyes while 
I -wandering over the vast mai'shes of the Euphrates 
"Was, if I may so express myself, a speaking one, even 
for those who could not luu-avol the complicated mys- 
tery of its sacred writings. 

Babylon was for centuries a still more brilliant 

■ beacon-light than Egypt, shining out amid profound 

P darkness. It cannot be said with certainty to what 

race belonged the creators of this civilisation as ancient 

as that of Egypt, and not less original in its character. 

iThey were neither Semites nor Aryans. The name of 
Turanians is vague and doubtful. The application to 
; 



Xhia B6oms proved by the way in which the kings of Assyria 
and of Chaldroa traDGplanted the inbalitantB. 



^ 



ANCIENT BABYLONIAN INFLUENCE. 



them of the names of Cushitos and Cophenes is qiiite 
arbitrary. The language which they spoke has not 
been revealed to us, and we are in ignorance as to 
whether it remains concealed beneath the still xm- 
deciphered Accadian or Siuuerian inscriptions. It 
appears, however, that the first impression of the 
Assyriologists was the correct one.* The Assjrrian 
hieroglyphicism, the origin of what is called cnneiform 
writing, was neither Semitic nor Aryan, and it was 
only later that it was used to write Semitic and Aryan 
idioms. 

In close connesity with the creation of Assyrian 
hieroglyphicism was the creation of a whole school 
which plays a leading part in the history of human 
genius. Assyria had, from the very first, her castes 
of savants and priests. She created arithmetic, geo- 
metry, the calendar, and astronomy; she organised 
human existence, and, by establishing the week, 
brought into existence the Sabbath. So rational 
science was formed. A number of meteorological 
data, which still hold good, and which even the great 
innovations of the French Eevolution were powerless 
to affect, were established. The seven planets gave 
their names to the seven days of the week, and the 
seventh day had special characteristics which marked 
it as a day of rest.t The divisions of the circle and of 
time were the same as they are at the present day for 



* Oppert, E.TpiA. sdentif. m Mt-sopotamif, vol. ii. (Paris, 1859). 
See Journal des Savnntg, March, 1859, pp. 181 and following 

t SoIiTader, Die KeiUmchriften wid ilag A. T., vol. ii. pp. 18, 
ft«. ; Q, Smith, Tht Atgyrian Eponym Canon, pp. 19 and following. 



mSTORF OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



all nations. There was an abundance of literature, 
half mythical, half scientific, which claimed to relate 
the origin of the world and of humanity. The popular 
imagination was charmed by interminable tales of gods 
and giants." But all this literature was pervaded by a 
most remarkable curreut of ideas. It was not a mere 
simple mythology, sporting amid the endless play of 
words, and following into tho dim distance tho capri- 
cious flight of metaphor ; it betrayed a glimmering of 
scientific hypotheses, starting from accurate and correct 
observations, generalising in some cases with singular 
good sense, and expressing the first perceptions of rea- 
soning in a form which may seem to us overstrained, 
now that we have come to proceed only by the ana- 
lytical method in the research after causes. 

In a word, the human intellect at this advanced 
post of its development tentatively claimed to explain 
tho origin of the world witJiont the intervention of 
tho gods. Spontaneous generation, too hastily con- 
cluded, was the fundamental dogma of Babylonian 
science.-f The world J came out of chao8,§ from a 

• F, Lenormaiit, Ijs Ch-iyines dr VHutoirt, vol. i, (1880). 

\ BeroBQB, Damoacius, Nabathean Agricalturei fragment dis- 
covered by Smith (alloTring for the rectificatiooB of Abb6 Quentin). 
See ChwolsoD, IH* Saabier (St. Petersburg, 1859) ; Zjenomtant, 
Orijfini'!' de I'Histoire, vol, i., appendix. Commeitl. «ir Borate 
(Paris, 1871); my essays opon Sanchoniathon and Dp on Nabathean 
Agricultare (Mem de I'Acad. dei Insc. et DeUet-Lftttvs, vol. xxiii. 
put iL, and vol. xxiv., part i. 

t See Lenormant and Schrader's works qaoted above. 

§ inn = V ' in2 = fiaav de SauchoniatboD, latdebaoOi of the 
Onostios. 



ANCIENT BABrLONIAN INFLUENCE. 



profound abyss (Tiamat),^' from a fruitful mudbant, 
after the model of the great alluvions which the 
Euphrates and Tigris form wheu their waters unite. 
From this moist chaos, vivified by an amorous wind,t 
emerged one after another creations more or less 
discordant, which disappeared to make room for 
beings more in harmony with one another, and lastly 
for man. 

The dwelling-place of this primitive humanity was 
Lower Chaldtea, conceived as being a paradise, the 
source of all the rivers,J with the sacred tree in the 
middle of it.§ Ten great mythical reigns, each 
lasting about a thousand years, made up the duration 
of this primordial age, during which deified men built 
the first towns, invented arts, and laid the foundations 
of civilised life.|| 

A deluge, from which only one man, taking refuge ■ 
on a ship with those of the animal species intended to 
reproduce theii' race, escaped, separated the mythical 
from an heroic age teeming with the stories of giants 
bom of the connection between demons and women. 
The origin of Babylon and of Nineveh was ascribed to 
■' Dinn =; Mummu Tiamat (nainn) = ravfli of Damasciufl = 
Tauarfl (fur 6aXa.T&) of Berosaa. 

+ mi = Ilctvfta of Sancboniatlion. 'Airao-iic of DomfLBcius = 
)1SEn = Uifiot. 

IX Fr. Delitzflch, Wo % da» l'araJie$ / (Leipeic, 1881). 
§ Menant, Cyliniircs ik iAsstjrie, pp. 61 and following; Cyjiri- 
dres da la ChaliUt, pp. 189 and followiog ; LeDormaot, Origines de 
I'Hietoire, vol. 1. pp. 74 and following. 
II Compare with ths PhceniciaD fables banded down hy Bacchonia- 
thon, fablcB the AsHyriau original of wUicb scarcely adoiits of a 



doubt. 
VOL. 



this race of giants, the most celebrated of whom was 
the hunter Merodak or Nimrod, who strangled a lion 
by squeezing it againat his belt.* The hillocks of 
bricks which served as foundations to the Babylonian 
temples, and especially the gigantic Borsippa, the 
tower of tongues, became the subject of innxmierable 
legends, which each generation has moulded into 
accordance with its bent of thought, 

Another centre of legends, to the south of Babylon, 
was the ancient land of Ur,+ with its mythical king, 
Father Orham, looked upon as a founder, a pacific 
legislator, and a saint.J It is the oldest locality of 
Babylonia ; and the tests taken from it represent the 
still lineal form of the so-called cuneiform writing.§ 
The kings of Ur arc the oldest known Babylonian 
dynasty. A brick elevation marks the site of the 
principal temple. Ur, or Our-Casdim, as the Hebrews 

'- See Mns^e du Louvre, ABsyriaii room, Noa. i and 5. Bee 
Sohrader's work quoted above, pp. 92, 93, 

t Now Moqayyar, or, oa erroneonBly written, Moghayr. See 
Sohrader, pp. 129 and following ; Loftas, Chnld. and Sus., pp. 127 
and following; Mecant, Bab, ct la C'liahl., p. 71 and following; 
George Smith, C/wW. Oon., p. 246; DelitzBcb, pp. 226,227; 
Maspero, Hut. Anc., 4Ui edition, pp. 164 and following. 

t Rawlinson, Cuneiform Imcription* oj Western, -isia, vol. i., 
plates 1 and following ; Oppert, Exped. de Metop., vol. i., pp. 264 — 
266 ; Hist, dft Empires de ChaUl. et d'AisyrU, pp. 16 and follow- 
icg ; Monant, Cyl. de In ChaU., pp. 127 — 158 ; CoUcclton de C'tercq, 
pp. 14 and following, pp. 81, 67 and following. Tbero is a 
doubt aa to all tbese combinations, tho reading Onrkhammon not 
being certain. The Assj-riologists take it to bo the name of a real 
king. 

§ British Museum, (."'iiHfiyofflj ZjMCnpt/oJM, vol. i,, plates 1 and 
following. 



ANCIENT BABYLONIAN INFLUENCE. 61 

called it, may be regarded as the first centre of Baby- 
lonian or Chaldean civilisation. 

All the large towns in this marshy region where 
the Euphrates and Tigris meet had in the same way 
their divine legends, dating from the most remote 
antiquity. Erech* equalled Ur in nobility and 
religious iraportance.f The recently discovered sculp- 
tures of TelloJ show us the dwellers in the primi- 
tive Lower ChaldEea under the most original aud 
striking aspect. These strange cities of Ur, Erech, 
Babel, and Telle made the very strongest impres- 
sion upon the nomad Semites who had migrated fi'om 
Arabia. Those enormous pyramids, the object in 
creating which was quite beyond their comprehension, 
gave rise to no end of fables.§ The nomad, Hke the 
barbarian, does not understand large buHdings ; he 
has the most childish tales to explain the existence 
of all colossal ruins.jl The wonderful tower of 
Borsippa, more especially, must have suggested the 



* Now Warka. 

t Loftua, pp. 180 and following, 160 aod foUowiug ; Delitzscb, 
p. 94. 

I Decouvertes en C/iaidee, by M. de Sarzec (Paris, Leroni:), 
originals in the Louvre. 

§ Geoosis, ch. xi., v. 1 and foIlowiDg; Herodotus, book i., p. 
181. We know of at least three towers of Bahel : Birs-Nemroud, 
Babil, and Akerkouf. 

II Tales about Palmyra, Balbeck, the monuments in the Haurau, 
Petra, the alleged Themoudite fortresses, which are merely tombB, 
Notices et Kxtraiti dc I' Acad, da huicr. el Bellet-LeUrei, vol. xviii,, 
part ii., pp. 4, 6. Compare with the MirabUta urbh Homte of 
the Middle Ages. 

02 



most singular ideas, as, for instance, whether the 
power of man carried so far is not an insult to God. 

The wanderings of the nomads did not lead them 
much in the direction of the Tigris or Nineveh. They 
generally halted in that part of Mesopotamia known 
as Padan-Aram, the principal centres of which were 
Ilarran, Sarug, Edessa. From the point of view of its 
civilisation this country was an annex of Assyria, a 
sort of Aramaic Babylon. Aramaic was spoken in 
it, and this alone would have been sufficient to make 
many important changes in the traditions of Babel 
and Ur. Harran, moreover, appears to have been 
even then, what it remained up to the thirteenth 
century, a city of syncretism, in which the myths of 
Babylonian origin underwent all kinds of transfoi-ma- 
tions. The gi-cat seer of the Israelite legends, Balaam, 
is supposed to have come from there.* Harran, in 
the course of its long and singular history, stands out 
at every epoch as a sort of colony and emporium of 
Babylonian ideas.t 

The pastors found here the cycle of Chaldean ideas 
under a form more acceptable to them, gilded over as 
they were by a sort of Semitic varnish. The names of 
characteristic personages, for instance that of the first 
wife (ffavva, " she who gives life "), possibly the name 
of the god lahveh, J stood out as Aramaic words easily 

*■ Numbers, ch. xiii., v. 6; ch. xxiii., v. 7 ; Schrader, pp. 166, 



i ChwolsoD, TMe SuibUr uiul der 
1856). 

j See the foUoning cbapter. 



( (St. Petersburg, 



ANCIENT BABYLONIAN INFLUENCE. 



ftj 



understood. The hero of the deluge became a man well 
pleasing to heaven, called sometiraea Hanok, at other 
times Noah, The ai'k rested upon the mountains of the 
land of Ararat (Armenia), whereas in the Assyrian test 
there is no allusion to this northern country. The in- 
habitants of Padan-Arara were particularly attached 
to the legend of the fubled Orhara, king of Ur, and called 
him Aborham (Abraham),* the Father-Orham, a name 
which was destined to go down into the deepest strata 
of mythological history, pater Orchamus.f These 
kinga of Ur were more or less patriarchs, at once 
kings and fathers of their pcoples.J The Assyrians 
often depicted them, and always in a way which 
harmonises with the Abraham of tradition, as seated 
in an arm-chair, with a benevolent aspect and without 
any sort of military pomp or circumstance. The chief 
title of Father-Orham to the vcneratiou of his pacific 
admirers was that he had substituted the sacrifice of a 
ram to that of human beings, as in the caso of his son 
Isaac.§ I am inclined to think that this Orham is the 
real or imaginary person who has lent his name 

* In very early times the letlera n and n wero ueod indifferently 
in Semitic etymology. 

f Raxit Acha^meniiiB utboi pnter Orchamus, isque 
Beptiniu* a priaco numeratur origine Bi'lo. 

Orid, Meiam., iv., p. 212. i'ati'T no doubt had in Ovid's text a 
more limited meantng (imtfr ejus, scil. Leucolhoes); but the ex- 
pression P/iter Orchamiis seems none the less to have forced itself 
upon Ovid by tradition. 

J Menant, Oyl. de la Chaldir. pp. 129—136, 137—148 ; Catal. 
de la coll. De Clereq, pp. 17 and following. 

§ Menant, Cyl. de la ChalJee, pp. 144 and following, 146, 147, 
151. Catal. De Clereq, pp. 17 and following, 




ff/STOSr OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL- 



and several of the most characteristic traits to the 
history of Abraham. This may be all the more readily 
admitted because these myths of Orham were generally 
represented by small cylinders of very little value, 
which were passed about among the nomads as talis- 
mans, and which must have given a great impetus to 
their imagination.* 

The myth of Nimrod also figures in the Biblical 
narratives under a form peculiarly typical of Hari'an. 
He remained right into the Middle Ages one of the 
gods of the citj' of Harran.t Most of the incidents 
borrowed from Babylonia which are to be found in the 
early chapters of Genesis are not taken at first hand ; 
they have come through Padan, and represent Baby- 
lonia as seen through Harran spectacles. The names 
of the antediluvian patriarehB,J answering to the 
mythical kings of Babylon, also appear to be Har- 
ranian combinations. 

The Semite pastors who led their flocks in this 
region understood all this§ and were much struck by 
it. Their situation was like that of Mahomet, unable 
either to read or write, in the presence of Judaism and 

* Menant, sec previous Dote. 

t AesemBni, liih}. Orient,, vol. i. p. 827; Wellhansen, Prolff/o- 

'""'«. P- K. 

} See the two identical lists, one Jehovist, the other Elohiat, 
Oenesis, cb. iv. and v. 

^ The infinence of the Babylonian cosmogonies also crops up 
again among the Phcenicians (Sanchoniathon, Damascius). Bnt 
that perhaps is duo to more recent adaptations. See Menwiren de 
I'Ac/id. lies Inscript. H ISfllex-Leltrr'n, vol. xiiii,, part ii., pp. 241 
and following. 



ANCIENT BABYLONIAN INFLUENCE. 



6$ 



Christianitj-, overloaded with writingB. Everything 
was done by word of mouth, by popular narrative. 
The resemblance between the Hebrew narratives and 
the ancient Babylonian nan-atives was of the same kind 
as that between the Koran and the Old Testament and 
the Gospels. In accordance with their Evhemerist in- 
tellect, opposed as it was to mythology, the nomad 
Semites simplified those ancient fables, flattened them 
down, so to speak, and reduced them to dimensions 
which admitted of their being cai-ried about with the 
baggage of the nomad. By the mere process of 
passing into the hands of the Aramaic populations 
or wandering pastors, who knew nothing of writing, 
these theogonic epics came to have a childish and 
almost puerile aspect. The story of the creation be- 
came toned down ; Paradise was materialised, and its 
topogi-aphy, the farther one got from Lower Chaldea, 
became vague and contradictory ; the mythical kings, 
who, according to the Assyrian narratives, reigned for 
three or four thousand years, became patriarchs, who 
lived eight or nine hundred years. This seemed less 
difficult to believe. At the same time the deluge 
assumed a moral meaning ; it was a punishment, The 
myths as to the origin of Babel assume a hostile 
physiognomy ; Babel is a proud city ; an insult 
agauiBt God. Ur, upon the contrary, is a primitive 
cradle of holiness. 

In this way an element of capital importance was 
introduced into the Semitic tradition. The basis 
of the religion which was adopted by the world 



66 HISTORy OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



is the simple and moral elohism of the Semite pastor. 
But it was an insufficient basis. What was wanted, 
especially in view of the disgust of mythology induced 
by the result of many centuries, was a seeming expla- 
nation of the origin of things, a cosmogony with an 
air of being reasonable, positive, and historical. The 
strange mixture of real science and of fable contained 
in the Chaldean-IIebraic system marked it out to fill 
this void. Boiled down, strapped tight, if I may so 
express myself, upon the back of the nomad's beast of 
burden, diluted for centuries in memoirs without any 
sort of precision and mercilessly condensed, the proto- 
Chaldean narratives have given us the first twelve 
chapters of Genesis, and there is not, perhaps, any part 
of the Bible which has had more important conse- 
quences. Humanity has supposed that it possessed in 
them an historical narrative of the things about which 
it was most anxious to . know, I mean its infancy and 
early progress. The very real good sense which is to 
be found at the root of these symbols was to make us 
forget what there is defective about them. Their 
mythological side was to serve as a passport to what 
is superficially reasonable about them. Originally 
given by the Hebrew pundits in two parallel versions, 
but afterwards fused into one single text, the narra- 
tives in question have become the necessary prelimi- 
nary to all sacred history. 

Owing to the narrowness of Chiistian dogmatism, 
these semi-scientific pages were in the Middle Ages a 
serious obstacle to the awakening of the human intelleot. 



ANCIENT BABYLONJAN INFLUENCE. 



fc? 



The whole theory of the universe was thought to he 
contained in the six days' lahour. Even in oux time, 
the lack of criticism, both in France^ and England, 
general among savants who concern themselves solely 
with physical and mathematical sciences, has caused a 
great deal of nonsense to be written upon this subject. 
It must not be forgotten, however, that the chapter 
Beresiih was science for the day in which it was 
written. The old Babylonian spirit breathes in it 
Btill. The succession of the creations and ages of the 
world, the idea that the world has a future, a history, 
in which each state proceeds from the pre^ous state 
by an organic development, was an immense advance 
upon a plain theory of the universe, conceived as a 
material and lifeless aggregate. The factitious sim- 
plicity of the Bible narrative, the exaggerated aver- 
sion which its pages exhibit for big figures and lengthy 
periods, have masked the powerful evolutionary spu'it 
which Hes at the bottom of it ; but the genius of the 
unknown Darwins whom Babylon possessed 4,000 
years ago is never baffled by this. The eloquent words, 
" In the beginning God created the heaven and the 
earth," was like the cold mistral which cleared the sky, 
like the sweep of the broom which relegated from 
beyond our horizon the chimeras which darkened it. 
A free will, as implied by the words, "He created," 
substituted for ten thousand capricious fancies, is a 
progress of its kind. The great truth of the unity of the 
world and of the absolute solidarity of all its various 
parts which polytheism failed to appreciate, is at least 



clearly perceived in these narratives, in which all parts 
of nature hring forth by the action of the same thought 
and the effect of the same verb. 

The nomad pastor would not have invented these 
strange stories ; but he has caused them to live. 
Chaldean cosmogony would never have conquered the 
world in the exuberant form which it assumed in the 
Assyrian texts ; its simplification by the Semitic genius 
was effected just at the very time when the human 
intellect was craving for elejir ideas upon a subject 
of which nothing clear can bo known. 

There is an endless variety in the history of the 
human intellect. In this instance, the dried herba- 
rium was more finiitful than the prairie field. Mons- 
trosities which would have remained buried in the 
heap of Oriental balderdash, have become apparent 
realities. The clear and sober imagination of Israel 
has eS'ected this mii-ncle. What reads as grotesque 
in BerosuB appears in the Bible narrative so true 
and so natural, that we, with oui" "Western credulity, 
have treated it as history, and have imagined, when 
wo adopted those fables, that we have been discarding 
mythology. 



CHAPTER VI. 



THE NAME OF lAHVEH. 

It is very possible that the long history of religion, 
which, starting from the nomad's tent, has resulted 
in Christianity or lalamisnij derives from primitive 
Assyria, or from Aceadian Assyria, as it is called, 
another element of capital importance, that is the 
name of Iahou6 or lahveh.* This proper name is, in 
the theology of the nomad Semites, a strange misuse of 
terms, Why should a proper name be given to one who 

~ The pronnucialioD Jeh-nuli has only been used eince the Beven- 
teenth ceutnry. It constilutea a regalur impossibility, iuBBmnch as 
the vowels n>n^ are taken from the word ''S'^N. There would, if 
we are gnided by the Massoretio test, be as good reason for Baying 
Jfhovih, as tha Massoretea punctuate nin.^ wherever the text rana 
mn' '31M- This is what is called a perpetual keri ; this presents 
no difiicnlty when we remember that in the first half of the Middle 
Ages there was no compound sheva. Let ua imagine tltat it was 
compulsory to substitute the name of LutOce for Paris ; would 
that legitimise the form of Purese ? The real vowels of miT* 
are unknown. The ancients transcribed IE\"n, lAOY, lAIl ; 
Clement of Alexandria gives 'luovi ; Thcodoretus tells us that the 
Samaritans pronounced lABE. St. Epiphany adopts the same 
form. St. Jerome gives htho (see the tests collected by Gesenius, 
7Aw., p. 577). WefindalBotEYE(Stade,Z., I881,p. 346; 1662, 
pp. 173, 174). The form Uhveh or Juhn-eh seems therefore accu- 
rately to represent tbe pronunciation of at least the fourth century 
of oar era, 



TO HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

has no congener, who is alone of his kind ? The name 
■was in all probiiliility borrowed by these peoples from 
abroad. Nothing goes to show that Jahveh was indi- 
genous to Egypt. In Assyria, upon the contrary, 
and especially in the Clialdean countries bordering 
upon Padan-Aram, the word lahou or lahvch seems 
to have been employed to designate God.* The root 
hawa, written with a soft h or a hard /i,t signifies in 
the Aramaic tongue, the being, the breath, or the 
life, something analogous to rouah. The mother of 
life, the first woman, was called Hawwa ; the master 
of life, the supreme being, may have been called 
lahwa. This name was more especially used when 
speaking of the god who presided over the greatest of 
nature's phenomena, the thtinder. The Semite pastors 
as it seem were much struck by this, and came to 
regard lahoua as synonymous with El or Elohim. The 
Canaanites, or at all events the Hamathites, adopted 
the same synonym. "We find the Jews having a king 
called lo-iaqim and £l-iai/im, while in Hamath we 
find a king named lahuhid and Jltibid.% 

The holy name became contracted into lahou or lo, 
and was shortened to lah. But the Mesa inscrip- 

* Schrader, pp. 23 and following. The classic IAD is always 
considered by the Greeka to be of Assyrian origin. 

+ The diatinctioD between those two articnlations scarcely 
existed before the invention of nriting. Even after the introduc- 
tion of the alphabet, the n and the n were often confounded in 
fionnd and in the way in which they were formed. See above, 
noU *, p. fiS. 

] Schrader. 



tion,* which dates from about 875 B.C., givea the name 
mn^ written in four letters as in claBsic Hebrew. Even 
irom this epoch, moreover, the tetragrammation was 
explained by the verb kaia, which is the Ilebraic form 
of hauia : " I am him who I am," and " I am " became 
a regular substantive.f lu this way a metaphysical 
meaning was arrived at, without much departure, per- 
haps, from the primitive meaning. 

Let me hasten to add that all these points are sur- 
rounded by the gravest doubts. We shall see, as we 
proceed, that it is also very possible that lahveh was 
the local god of Siuai or the provincial god of Pales- 
tine.} Of all the obscure questions in these ancient 
histories, this assuredly is the most perplexing. Those 
proper names of lahveh, of Camos, which the Syro- 
Arabian peoples gave to theii' supreme god, are quite 
an insoluble problem. My opinion is that the patri- 
archal elohism is to bo regarded as anterior and 
superior to lahveism, to Camosism, &c. It was an 
immense advantage when the gods had only a generic 
name, removing all idea of personality. It may be 
regarded as a step in advance, too, when these clohim, 
imified in one single Elohim, acted as one single 
being. But it was a step backward when they had a 
proper name, such as Camos, lahvck, liinimoii, and con- 
BtitutXKl for each people a jealous, egotistical, and per- 



* LinQ 18. 

+ Exodus, ch. iii., v. 14, Jehovist; Eiodns, ch. vi., v. 
Elohist. 

It See pp. 101, 102, 168 Rnd following, 104. 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



Bonal god. The people of Israel alone corrected the 
defects of its national god, suppressed its proper 
name, and brought it to bo only a synonym of 
Elohim. 

The story of this slow transformation, which was a 
reversion to the primitive patriarchal state, will be 
the subject of this Iiistory. For the present it will be 
sufficient to point out that lahveh plays no important 
part in the history of Israel until Israel baa become a 
nation attached to one soil. The religious progress of 
Israel will be found to consist in reverting from lahveh 
to Elobim, in modifying lahveh, and in stripping him 
of his personal attributes and leaving him only the 
abstract existence of Elohim. lahveh is a special god, 
the god of a human family and of a country ; as such 
he is neither better nor worse than the other pro- 
tecting deities. Elobim is the universal God, the God 
of the human race. In reality it is to Elohim and 
not to lahveh that the world has been converted. 
The world has become deist, that is to say elohist, and 
not iahveist. It has forgotten how the name of lahveh 
is pronounced ; each people will continue to place the 
vowels in its own way. Neither Christianity nor 
Islamism know lahveh. It is a word entirely elimi- 
nated from pious use j it is the name of a barbarian 
and strange god. 

The pantheon of these wandering peoples, reduced 
to preserving ancient words in default of ancient 
images, contained in this way a host of incomprehen- 
sible vocables which wore in turn used or cast aside 



THE NAME OF lAHVEH. 7 

by the religious mode of the day, and which came like 
spectres upon the imagination. Sebaotk is assuredly 
one of the most peculiar of these ancient divine names 
whiehhavo become enigmas. The expression of Scbaoth 
to denote the Divinity appears to proceed from the 
same order of ideas as elohim. The word schaoth sig- 
nifies " the armies, the series, the orders " of creatures, 
and especially of celestial creatures, of stars, of angels. 
It corresponds to the word ulamin (*' the worlds ") of 
the Koran, which is itself the Hebrew olam (the Phoe- 
nician oulom), translated in the Gnostic and Jewish 
Greek by Aluiv* All this, it will be observed, does 
not differ much from the Babylonian ideas. Sehaoth 
means " the worlds," as Ehhim means " the forces." 
Sebaoth, Uke Elohhn, becomes a collective singular, or 
rather a plural reduced to the signification of a sin- 
gular, designating the Supreme Being, after having 
designated the series of beings. Sebaoih, used by itself, 
was synonymous with God; Sebaoth was equivalent to 
Elohim, and when lahveh took to himself all the divine 
names, he also took that of Sehaoth,f without any 
fresh shade of meaning entering into the Hebrew con- 
ception of Providence, to so great an extent was this 

* EobrewB, cli. i., v, 2. 

I The espreBBioii niS2!i mn'' is familiar to the prophets of the 
eighth century B.C., Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah. In other parts 
of the Prophets and in the Psalms it seems to have become so by 
force of imitation. It is n poclic esprossion vrhich the very ancient 
Dftrratives do not contain. The expression rilHny Tlbn nin' 
belongs to a period in which the ancient meaning was not 
nnderatood, and in which it was considered grammatically cor- 
rect to say, lahveh (God of the) Sebaoth. 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



conception the very base, the limit, and the expression 
of the genius of these peoples. 

The religious institutions of Babylon were hardly 
of a character to be imitated by nomads. The Sab- 
bath, or the seventh day's rest, was perhaps the 
Chaldean institution which astonished the Semites 
more than any other. For the Bedouin, with no regular 
hours of work, life was a perpetual Sabbath. In a land 
where public works, executed by forced labour, had 
been carried very far, a period of rest seemed neces- 
sary, in the interests both of the master and the slave. 
The number seven played a very important part in 
Babylonian ideas, and the period of seven days, recur- 
ring four times in a lunar month, marked divisions of 
time corresponding very closely with human strength. 
Let me add that the number six was the basia of 
Babylonian numeration, so that 0x1 represented very 
much what 12x1 does to us. The seventh was some- 
thing supererogatory and imclassed, like the thirteenth 
with us. The Sabbath is thus an institution of a very 
advanced stage of civilisation, not a patriarchal usage. 
It doubtless formed part of the firat relay of customs 
brought from Chaldpea by the patriarchs. The nomads 
only adopted it at first so far a^ it suited them, and it 
was not until much later, and in a social condition of 
(juite a different kind, that they made further progress 
upon this point. 

A very characteristic fact it is that the nomads, who 
adopted so many Chaldean institutions, did not take the 
diTision of the day into twenty-four hours. Up to the 



THE NAME OF lAHVEH. 75 

Greco-Eoman period, the Jews did not divide the day- 
like the Arabs, that is to say into characteristio 
periods.* The word saa^ ^^hour," does not exist in 
ancient Hebrew. With regard to the measures of 
weight, length, and capacity, the nomad Semites, like 
the whole of the old world, knew of no others but 
those established by Babylon.t 

* Nehemiah, ch. vii., v. 8. 

t Researches of Boeckh, Brandis, and Six. 



VOL. I. H 



CHAPTEE VII. 



THE HEBBEW OR TERACHITE QHODP. 



The Euphrates may be regarded aa the high road of 
the nomad Semites who came in contact with Assyria. 
Ascending its course in a north-westerly direction, they 
reached the city of Harran, which was, as it were, 
their rallying point. From there a great number of 
them came back to the Euphrates, which they crossed 
at Thapsacus or Beredjik, then entering upon the 
Syrian deserts, to the east of the Antilibanus, regions 
singularly bare in the eye of the dweller in cities, 
but very suitable for the roaring of flocks and herds. 
They were particularly fond of the land of TJa or Aus, 
now the dwelling-placo of the Anezia, the land of 
Terach (the Trachonitidcs), the region of Damascus, 
and the south of Palestine, to which the Canaanitos 
had not penetrated. They never went near the coast, 
and probably had, like the Arabs, an aversion for 
the sea, regarding it as so much abstracted from 
creation.* 

These tribes, first of all trans-Eupbratian, which had 
become, by crossing the stream, cis-Euphratian, took 

* In tbe Apocalypse (ch. xxi., v. 1), one of the characteriBtics 
of the world made perfect ifi to be ths disappearance of the Bea. 



THE HEBREW OR TERACHITE GROUP. 77 

the generic name of Hehretv [Tlirim, "those of the 
other side "), though we do not know whether they 
took it when they placed the Euphrates between them- 
selves and their brethren who remained in the Pad- 
dan-Arani, or whether it waa the Canaanites who 
called them "those from beyond," or, to be more 
accurate, " those who had crossed the river."* These 
Ibrim, in any event, appear to have been closely allied 
to the Ai'phaxaditfis (people of the mountainous pro- 
vince to the north of Nineveh), to the town of Paliga, 
near Circesium, to the towns of Eagho, Sarug, and 
Nahor, not far from the Euphrates.f Then we find 
them, by a sudden bound, transported to the Tracho- 
nitides,^ to the south-east of Damascus, and in the 
region of the Hauran. Great as may be the distance 
which separates them from the Paddan-Aram, their 
eyes are never removed from theii- ancient country, 
and more especially from Harran.§ 

The Terachite family was destined to be still further 
deeply divided, but it never lost the sense of its unity. 
It was this family above all others which jealously pre- 
served the religion of Ur-Casdim, and stoutly adhered 
to its claim of Ab-Orham as its supreme father. The 
unvarying tradition was that Terach, the father of the 



* Genesis, ch. xiv., v. 13; Septnagint, 6 rcpanjs ; Aquila, 
u rtpaiTTji. Mythic eponym ; Eber. 

I Oenesis, cb. xi. 

t mn = Tpaxiov. I think that ]nn stands for pin, the 
Haaran. 

§ The lire of Jacob is etill htUf-way betveen the Padan-Arum 
and Syria properly eo called. Geneaia, ch. sxiv., uvii., zxviii, 
h2 



78 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

race, was a native of TJr-Casdim, and that Ab-Orhara 
was his son. This Ab-Orham was represented some- 
times as a man^ sometimes as a god. The tribes origin- 
ally ascribed to him the part of supreme ancestor and 
di4e patxiarch. The Hebrews pronounced his name 
Abraham^ which they interpreted " Father of many na- 
tions ; "* but they often changed this name to Ab-Ramy 
* ' the mighty Father," to obtain a meaning more in con- 
formity with the past which was ascribed to him. He 
was a pacific and humane father. It was related how, 
when it was his duty to sacrifice his first-bom son, he 
substituted for him a ram.f It was an honour to have 
for one's ancestor so great a civiliser, a man who had 
been in communion with £1 or lahou. Damascus also 
reckoned Abraham among its fabled kings,:}: and if that 
is borrowed from the Biblical traditions, it is pro- 
bably a plagiarism of very ancient date. 

To be of TJr-Casdim descent became, in the eyes 
of all Hebrews, a title of high nobility. The Israelite 
Hebrews have reached so great a celebrity in history 
that they have absorbed altogether the name of 
Hebrews ; but, originally, this name applied to many 
other peoples. The Ammonites, the Edomites, and 
the Moabites claimed Abraham as their common ances- 
tor. They felt themselves still to be brethren in the 

^ Oenesis, ch. xvii., v. 5 (Elobist). 

t See above, pp. 68, 64. 

I Nicholas of Damascus, in Jos., Ant. I., vii., 2 ; Justin, zxxvi., 
V. 2. Berosus does not mention Abraham by name ; but accord* 
ing to Josephus he designates him without naming him. 



THE HEBREW OR TERACHITE GROUP. 79 

strictest sense of the word. This fraternity was at 
times irksome to the Israelites, who were so often dis- 
dainful of their congeners. Ammon, Edom, Moab, 
and Ishmael are connected with the Father of the 
peoples by insulting not to say obscene legends.* 
But a thousand historical incidents treasured up in 
the memory of Israel spoke more loudly than hatred, 
and proved that all these peoples were connected with 
one another by the tie of a close relationship. 

The religious resemblance between them was par- 
ticularly striking. The religion of the Moabites and 
that of the Edomites unquestionably differed but little 
at first from that of the Israelites. f Edom, more 
particularly, had from the very first a school of sages ; 
that of Theraan, J in which the problem of man's des- 
tiny was discussed from the standpoint of the mono- 
theistic philosophy of the Hebrews, and in which it 
was sought to give a meaning to life by admitting 
only two fundamental principles : an eternal God and 
fleeting man.§ The numerous Arab tribes devoted to 
the worship of El, Ishmaelites, Adabelites, Bethuelites, 
Eaguelites, Jeramelites, Malkielites, lahlelites, lah- 



* Genesis, ch. xvi., xvii., xix., xxv., xxxvi. 

\ Rath and the episode of Balaam do not denote any religious 
difference between the Moabites and the Israelites. 

X Somewhere about Petra. 

§ The Book of Job, composed by an Israelite, but with the in- 
tention of presenting a Themanite ideal. The attention of the 
author to local colour does not admit of the supposition that he 
would have attributed the monotheistic philosophy to these peoples, 
if such had not been the doctrine of the wise men of the countiy. 



8o HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

sclifee, Tomuelites,'^ Midianitesj-f KeniteB,J C'alebites 
or Calbc]ite9,§ Keiiizzites,|| Ausites,^ Bcni-Qedem or 
Snracens,*' who roamed or trafficked in these Syrian 
deserts and in the North of Arabia, then far more 
busy with life than they are to-day, had probably no 
other theology. Lastly, tho cpifodes of Melchisedech, 
priest of El-EIion, and of Abimelech of Geraar, though 
not possessing a clearly historical character, demon- 
strate the existence of a wide zone of comparatively 
pure worship at the junction of the Arabian and 
Syrian deserts. 

Tlie Hebrews, as they spread through the eastern 
parts of Sjtia, enconntered therefore, wherever they 
went, populations having a strong analogy with thetn- 

♦ Noll) theae forms: '"'jHyntP'', "'bK'aba' ''':«bn\ 'bwarPi 
^'jHOrn'i paTftJlel to ibMnD'. "nd which would seem to infer 
''*3MDpS\ ■'bspriS''. •'^NCDI'. Seo lUmir ilrsetwlea jxm-ef, Oct.-Dec, 
1882, pp. 162 nnd following. bMSlM. bwirQi Vw5~i we certainly 
aIbo the names of tribea. It is tha snme with bHTO*. son of Simeon. 
Uaf;diel mid Mohetabol are probably names of tho Buroe kind. Note 
yip, the imagiiinry eponym of the KouiteB, Numbers, ch. ixvi., v. 
22; Judges, eh. iv.,v. 11. Comp. QSat. Monatsichrift, Nov,, 18B4, 
p. 27i). 

f Relations of Moses with Jcthro and Midian (Exodus, ch. xviii., 
V. 1 to 12), a very ancient fragment, Jethro is probably au Arab 
form with a final vowel. 

I Tha Kenitea (which stood perhaps for Kenielites, bK'3'p) ore 
Arabs, not Canaanitea. They were always on very good terma 
with Israel. 

§ See pp. 69 and 90 below. 

II T3p stands perhaps for bHt3p> 

H Compatriots of Job, supposed to bo monotheist. 
** Orientals, (generic name of the nomad Arabs in the east of 
Palestine (loud of the Anezia). 



J 



THE HEBREW OR TERACHITE GROUP. ^t 

selves. The Ishmaelites, the Midianites, and a whole 
series of Arab tribes grouped under the names of 
Cethura and Agar,* were classed as Abrahamites. AH 
these peoples belonged to different branohes of one 
and the same genealogical tree ; they understood each 
other's dialects ; their manners and customs were much 
the same. They formed one vast brotherhood, from 
Harran to the Negeb (Southern Palestine) ; all these 
scattered groups treated one another as brethreui 
and aided one another like members of one dispersed 
family.f 

The relations of the Terachites with the Canaanites 
were, upon the contrary, very unfriendly, though they 
spoke a similar language, and doubtless belonged to 
the same race. In after years the Hebrews, out of 
their great hatred, denied this latter fact, % but the 
community of language, § without any conquest of the 
country to explain it, is a consideration which must 
take precedence of any other. The Canaanites and the 
Terachites were closely related, and there were times 

* Hagar is the Arabia Petraea (^f Koran, xv.), by the primitiYe 
equivalence of n and n* Of. D^n:in> Psalm, Ixzziii., v. 7 ; 1 
Chronicles, ch. v., v. 10, 19, 20 ; Paul to the GalatianSi ch. iv., 
V. 24, 25; 'Aypaioi of Eratosthenes (Strabo, XYI., iv., 2). 

t See the exquisite idyls in ch. zziv. and xziz. of Genesis. 

\ Genesis, ch. z., "where the Canaanites are traced back to 
Ham, doubtless because, at the time this ethnographical table was 
compiled, the Canaanites were already Egyptianised in habits and 
civilisation. 

§ The Phoenician language only differed from the Hebrew in 
slight dialectic respects. See Carpus inscr. semU., part i. 



Si HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

when the enlightened Israelites would admit this ; • 
but the Hebrew character and mode of life differed 
totally from those of the Canaanites.t The Hebrews 
remained for a long time nomads and pastors, and even 
when established the}' always preserved the patriarchal 
typo of life and their aversion for large to^vns with 
regular buildings and organised states. 

There is no doubt one hypothesis which camiot be 
rejected as impossible. The ancient critics clung to it, 
and the recent epigraphic discoveries have lent a cer- 
tain air of probability to it, and it is that according to 
which the Abrahamites, before entering the land of 
Canaan, spoke Aramaic, and upon entering that land 
adopted the language of the country, that is to say, 
Hebrew. J When we find the Arabian desert furnish- 
ing only Aramaic inscriptions, § some of which date 
from the most remote antiquity, we are led to imagine 
that the Abrahamites at first spoke the same dialect, 
which we find upon these ancient stelse left by nomads 
who appear to have resembled them verj' closeIy.|| 

* Issiab, ch. xis., v. 19, speaks of the Hebrew as " the language 
of Canaan." 

t Judges, ch. ](vUi,, v, 7- 

\ Isaiah, seo above. 

§ Notien ft Extraitt, voi. xviii., put i. ; Revue d'arehaologit, 
orimtale, 1st year, pp. 41 and following. Compare with the epi- 
graphic collection of Sinai, 8afa, the Nabatheans, and Palmyra, 
which will be found in the aecond part of the Curpw i'i»cr. seniit. 

{{ Note the very striking expression ins 'aiM (Deut,, ch. 
xxvi., V. 5). " Wandering Aramean " opplied to the ancestors of the 
Hebrew people. Satm Sezab of the Teima inscription is in reality 
an Arammi obed, a nomad patrtATch, speaking Aramaic. 



THE HEBREW OR TERACHITE GROUP. 



Seductive as such a theory may be, it is one Trhioh 
cannot be accepted ; for the change of language which 
in that case must have occurred among the Beni-Ierael 
must also be imagined to have taken place, and for the 
Bame reason, among the Moabites and Edomites. The 
Moabites unquestionably spoke the same language as 
the Israelites.* It would have to be supposed, too, 
that Moab and Israel came to an agreement to change 
their language at the same moment. If it is ad- 
missible that the Beni-Israel, in theii' close contact 
with the Canaanites, came to adopt the latter's lan- 
guage, that could not have been the case with Moab, 
£dom, and Ammon, who did not appear to have taken 
the place of any previous Cauuanite populations. Moab, 
Edom, Ammon, Israel, Canaan spoke then the same 
language from a community of origin, which consti- 
tuted a somewhat close relationship, and not as the 
outcome of changes resulting from emigration or 
conquest. 

With regard to the Aramaic-speaking populations, 
if we were to go by grammar alone, we should imagine 
them to be separated from the Hebrews by a deep gulf, 
dating from thousands of years. But the race sympathy 
is also a factor which has to be taken into account. 
Laban, the father of the pastors who spoke Aramaic, 
is in the closest relationship with the Isaakites and the 
Israelites. Mamages between these two are constantly 
taking place. They all of them inhabit the same 



* The UesB i 
ptoob. 



icription, not to epe&k of many other Biblical 



. .--" J».^,rt.^;•>• 



AEL. 



grazing ground, from Euphrates to the sea, the coast 
only excepted; they play each other all sorts of ill- 
natured tricks, which do not lead to an absolute rup- 
ture. When the separation made further progress, 
Galeed is the limit of Aramean and of Hebrew.' A 
gal or men-hir indicated the line of demarcation, being 
called Galeed by the Hebrew-speaking populations of 
the south and west, and legar Sahadouta by the Ara- 
means of Damascus. Laban and Jacob swear according 
to the same rite, erecting a tumulus and eating bread 
upon it. The "heap of witness" is to remind the 
Hebrews and the Arameans that they have given their 
daughters to each other in marriage, that they have 
the same ancestors and the same God, and that this 
God is the God of Abruham, the "fear of Isaac," 

The diiferenee, then, between the Hebrews and the 
Canaanites was much more marked than between the 
various nomad families compai-od with one another. 
Nevertheless, among these populations vaguely con- 
founded under the name Canaan, several had great 
analogy with the Hebrews, and especially with the 
Israelites. Thus, for instance, the Giblites (inhabit- 
ants of Byblus and Berytus), who formed in Phce- 
nicia a settlement apart, f adored El, and had, in a 

* Genesia, ch. xxzi., v. 4S and following, a beantifal ethno- 
graphical myth, 'written with the claai' porpoee of its double 
meaning 

t See the sj'Btematic and exaggerated bnt nevertheless true 
demonstration of Movers, IHe phitn. Alt., I., pp. 103 and following. 
Also Mi's. <U T'hen., pp. 214, 216. It is worthy of remark 
that Gobal te not inclnded, in Geneais x,, among the bods of 
CuaaB. 






THE HEBREW OR TERACHITE GROUP. 



8S 



religious sense, the closest analogy with the Israelites. 
Their dialect resembled Hebrew fai- more than that of 
the Canaanites properly so called. The stela of le- 
hauraelek, King of Byblus,* might be, except for the 
divine namea on it, the stela of a king of Jenisaletn. 

The linguistic geography of Syria was from this 
date forward settled for a long time to come. The 
language which wo call Ilebrew, characterised by the 
article A, the status consfructus, the plural in im, the 
absence of emphatic terminations, the interior passives, 
was spoken all along the coast from Aradus to Jaffa, 
&c., in the whole of Palestine and Colesyria as far as 
Hamath. Aramaic was spoken at Damascus, upon the 
slopes of Antilibanus, in the region of Aleppo, in the 
Paddan-Aram, and in the deserts of Northern Arabia, 
Arabic existed, no doubt, with all its grammatical 
refinements, in the centre of Arabia, near Mecca ; 
but it was quite unknown in the countries of which I 
am speaking. Probably the lehmaelites and the 
Cethurian tribes spoke a Hebrew or Aramaic dia- 
lect, and not Arabic in the sense applied to that word 
since Islamism came into existenee.'f 

Phceniciau Hebrew no doubt had its own dialects. 
The Terachite peoples must all have used nearly 
identical idioms,^ but between Hebrew and Phoeni- 
cian the differences were very real. § It is more than 



* CerpM 1 


run'. ,mit. 


p. i., No. I 








t Xeima i 


Bcriplion. 


rin: d'Archeol. orient 


Seo above. 


I MeaaiB 


cription. 










§ Relative 


pronoana 


and suffix 


prononna 


.liehu. 


different 


UBBge of vowoIb entirely diHtinot. 









86 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, 

probable, nevertheless, that a Kanaan and an Ihri 
understood each other, whereas an Ihri and an 
Arammi would not have done so, owing to the diffi- 
culty which the unlettered man has to make allowance 
for varieties of dialect. Though not equalling the 
infinite delicacy of the Arabic spoken in the centre of 
Arabia, Hebrew-Phoenician possessed a high degree of 
suppleness and perfection, and was very superior to 
Aramaic, the heaviness of which prevented it from 
ever being suitable for the conveyance of original 
eloquence and poetry. 

A quiver full of steel arrows, a cable with strong 
coUs, a trumpet of brass, crashing through the air 
with two or three sharp notes, such is Hebrew. A 
language of this kind is not adapted to the expression 
of philosophic thought, or scientific result, or doubt, 
or the sentiment of the infinite. The letters of its 
books are not to be many ; but they are to be letters 
of fire. This language is not destined to say much, 
but what it does is beaten out upon an anvil. It is 
to pour out floods of anger, and utter cries of rage 
against the abuses of the world, calling the four winds 
of heaven to the assault of the citadels of evil. Like 
the jubilee horn of the sanctuary, it will be put to no 
profane use ; it will never express the innate joy of the 
conscience or the serenity of nature ; but it will sound 
the note of the holy war against injustice and the call 
to the great assemblies ; it will have accents of rejoic- 
ing and accents of terror ; it will become the clarion 
of the neomenia and the trumpet of judgment. 



THE HEBREW OR TERACHITE GROUP. 87 

Fortunately, the Hellenic genius will in its turn 
compose for the expression of the joys and sorrows of 
the soul a seven-stringed lute, which will vibrate in 
unison with what is human ; a great organ with a 
thousand pipes, equal to the harmonies of life. For 
Greece there were in store the most ravishing of joys, 
from the dance in chorus upon the summits of the 
Taygetus to the banquet of Aspasia, from the smile of 
Alcibiades to the austerity of the Portico, from the 
song of Anacreon to the philosophical drama of ^schy- 
lus and to the dreams put into dialogue by Plato. 



CHAPTER Till. 



THE BENI-JACOB, OH BENI-ISEiEL. 



AuoNa these uomad tribes, speaking all the same 
liinguage and professing nearly all the same creeds, 
alliances and compacts were constantly being made 
and unmade.* It was not an uncommon thing for 
new groups to bo formed bearing names which had 
not been heard of before. Bcligion was generally 
the cause of these schisms. A profound instinct 
led the Hebrew to the most purified form of religion, 
but the masses were not capable of so much elevation, 
yielding constantly to the demoralising influences 
from outside. The human sacrifices, in particular, 
must have led to frequent secessions. When the 
masses, terrified by some imaginary sign of divine 
wrath, committed their first-born to tho flames, the 
puritans withdi-ew rather than be responsible for any 
such horrible proceeding. The idolatrous practices 
also provoked severe struggles. To raise the hand to 
the mouth when the sim or moon were shining 
brightly was regarded as sacrilegious-f The truly 
pious men swore that they would recognise only 
El, and look only to him for protection, direction, 

* Ttiimft iuscripUon, Bmut d'arelieol. orUntah, fiiat year, pp. 48 

uui] I'ullawiiig. 

t Job, ch. xxxi., V. 26 and foUowmg. 



I 



THE BENI-JACOB. OR BENI-ISRAEL. 

and reward. This explains why there are so many 
Hebrew or Arab tribes whose name marks a special 
connection with El : * Ishmael, " he who in El answers 
favourably ; " Raguel, " he of whom El is the 
shepherd or friend; " Irhamel, "him on whom EI has 
pity; " Bethuel, and Adahel, the meaning of which is 
obscure ; with the ethnical derivations of Ishmaeli, 
Irhamelijt &c. Often with names of this kind, El was 
omitted, Trham being used instead of Irhamel ; Caleb 
instead of Calbel.X This last name, singular as it is, 
need not create any surprise, for " Dog of El " was an 
energetic way of expressing the faithful attachment of 
a tribe to the God to which it had devoted itself.§ 

Among the tribes thus devoted to the worship of 
El, and which were connected with the mythical 
Abraham of TJr-Casdim, there was one which distin- 
guished itself by a sort of religious gravity and scru- 
pulous attachment to the supremo God. Its name 
was Israel, the meaning of which word was doubtfuI,|| 

• 8.:e above, pp, 79, 80. 

\ Tho Jerahmelitea were an Arab tribe dweltiog to the gontb of 
tbe desert of Jadah, towards tbe Dead Sea. First Book of Samuel, 
: oh. xss. V. 29. They are, I believe, tbe N,iba- 
ihean Qeremelietnet of Fozzaolo. Corpus in$cr. la(. , vol s. , part i, , 
No. 1678 ; Journal nsiat., Oct., 1873, p. 884, 

J Tbe form D^N^'W esiata in Phteaician. See Corput ifucr. 
semit., part i., No8. 49, 52; cf. 80. Note tba form ''5l'73, First 
Book of ChrouicleH, cb. ii., v. 9, and tbe intimate connection of the 
Calebitea and tbo Jerabmolites. 

$ Compare witb tbe X6\a.iGot or Arabic CoUib, Joum. anal,, 
Jan., 1882, p. 11. Tbe title " dog of God " is aometJmes taken 
as an bonournble one by certain MaBsulmaoB. 

II Tbe etymology in Qenesia, cb. xxsii., v. 28, is ^oite dctitious. 



90 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

though it unquestiooably indicated the submisBion 
under which this family was towajda El.* 

A kind of synonym of Israel was lakobel^f "He whom 
El rewards," or ** He who follows El, who marches 
step by step in the ways that He has traced."J This 
name was abridged to Jacob,§ as thatof/z-ZtawW was to 
/rAam|| orCalbel to Caleb. Bent-Jacob, or Bmt-Israel 
was the name of the tribe ; and in course of time Jacob 
was taken to be a living person, grandson of Abraham. 
The name of his father Isaak is probably also an abbre- 
viation for /saaA'c/, " He upon whom God smiles."^ 

* The distinctioQ of ys nod VD did not exist in ancieot times. It 
may be, thorefore, that the root is ~iw\ The meaning would be " He 
whom El directs in the right path," or." Itectitude of El." It ia 
certain tint the analogy of the forms Dm'. Dpr*, fpT> sbD, for 
bMOm'', bNapr"*. bsSDT', bHaVD, leads one to Bupposo a form 
-IBJ* for btnu?". Thia form crops up again, perhaps, in the title of 
the celebrated book nil?^n nQD, and especially in the coritative 
pTjj* of the ancient cftnticles, wrongly written D''"itl?' in one of 
the mtufll of Baalom (Numbers, ch. S5iii.,v. 10). Compare 1 Chro- 
nicles, ch. xsv., V. 14 and tho variants. Compare Stade, Zeiuehrift, 
1886, pp. 162, 168. An objection to the explanation, " He whom 
El directs," is that, according to the analogy of 2pr^, of p^!!^ of 
r|DV, the ■• should bo a prefix. 

I This name appears in the list of the campaigns of Tothmes 
m. (No. 102). See Grofl in the Rev. egyptoL, vol. iv., pp. 95 
and following, 146 and following; Stade, ZeiUch. fiir die altt. 
Wist., 1886, pp. 1 and following. 

I Compare with n^2pr', a very plausible correction. 

§ See Mem. upon the abbreviated tbeophoric names, in the 
Rtviit del etudes juires, Oct.-Dec, 1882. With regard to ^iDT* for 
^MBDV, see p. 94 below. Wo find, too, in the Aesyrian text, 
Sa©* for 'jMjnuj'. Groff, lievtie egyjit., vol. v., p. 87, note V. 

II See Gesonius, Then., p. 1283. 

H Compare with Genesis, ch. xvii., v. 17, 19 ; oh. xviii., v. 
12; ch, xxi., v. 6; ch. zzvi., v. 8. 



I 

I 

L 



THE SENI-JACOB, OR BENI-tifSCtt.' 

It may be that the holy tribe was so' designated at a 
certain epoch ; or the Isaakel may perhaps have been 
a Puritan group, anterior to that of the Jakobel. 
Wliat is certain is that these pious people would only 
call the Siipreme Being, summed up in Elohim^ Ei or El* 
e/ion (the most High God),t or iS'arfrfai' (the Almighty 
God). J At the epoch of the internal religious struggles 
they had their encampments in Palestine ; Bethel was 
their favourite sanctuary. The altars, or rather the 
pillars § Vhich they left behind them were called El 
EloM Israel, " EI is the God of Israel." 

"We can see at once the analogy between a moral 
and religious condition of this kind and that of the 
Mussulman. It was a kind of prehistoric Islam. The 
Jakobelite patriarch was a true Moslem, one who gave 
himself up to God, who made of God the centre of his 
life, a devout man we might say, were it not that in 
its modern meaning this term implies practices which 
the ancient Semitic ilfoa^CTn repudiated with horror. The 
Israelite tribe seems, then, to have been formed by a 
religious motive, and to have had a religious standard. 
The type of Abraham, "the friend of God," as the 
Mussulmans call him, stands out at the dawn of 
Judaism and Islamism as the ideal of grandiose piety 

* El has Dot the same root as Elokim. 

\ Qeneais, ch. xiv., v. 18 asd following. 

[ Osneeie, ch. xxv., v. II ; ch. xlviii., v. 8 and following ; Exo- 
duB, ch. vi., V. 2, 8. 

5 Genesis, ch. xxxtii., v. 20. The Jehovist compiler always 
makes the mistake of BabstitnttDg altars for pillars in the old 
patriarchal legends. But the verb wayyatteb, whieh he usee, 
applies rather to a pillar than on altar. 

VOL. I. I 



pt HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

and perfect faith. Abraham is a Moslem, but he is 
above all else a Moumin, a believer, a pious hero, a 
kind of Ali, brave, generous, polygamous, a man of 
honour. He is an Arab saint, who will have great 
difficulty in securing his place among the monks, the 
virgins, and the ascetics, more Buddhist than Semitic, 
who people the Christian heaven. 

The Bcui-Israel, in conception differing but little 
Irom the Jakobolites and the Isaakites, were thus a 
phenomenon, not unique, but remarkable and tran- 
scendent in the midst of the Hebraic family ; just as 
Kome stands out among all the Latin and Italiot popu- 
lations, as an almost miraculous ease, Home was in 
Latium a sort of asylum of selection. The tribe of the 
Beni-Israel appears to have been something of the 
same kind among the Hebraic tribes. We may fancy 
Israel as being a sort of Geneva in the midst of the 
varied populations, a rendezvous of the pure, a sect — 
or en order if that expression be preferred — analogous 
to the Khottan Mussulmans, much more than as a dis- 
tinct ethnos. The Edomitea and Moabites, in fact, were 
already permanently settled in the east and west of 
the Dead Sea, when the Beni-lsracl found their way 
as vagi-ant pastors to the same region. It is possible 
that these latter may have remained systematically 
and from religious motives attached to the nomad life, 
which tended more than any other to preserve the 
antique habits, The Beni-Eekab were still more 
tenacious, inasmuch as they continued up to at least 
the sixth century B.C. to live under the tent, and to 






THE- BENI-JACOB, OR BENI-ISRAEL. 93 

lead their ancient mode of life. We shall find, more- 
over, this lofty ideal of the nomad life remaining a 
sort of magnetic needle, towards which Israel will 
constantly gravitate,* In a very real sense the fixed 
settlement in the land of Canaan was a degradation 
and a religions decadence for Israel, and subsequently 
progress was embodied in a return by reflection to the 
ideas and sentiments of the antique genius of the 
Hebrews, so true is it that the first glimmering per- 
ceptions of races are those which control their whole 
history and contain the secret of their destinies ! 

This difference between the nomad and fixed popu- 
lations, which is so capital a one nowaday, had not, 
however, in those distant ages, the importance which 
we attribute to it. Edom, Moab, Israel, and Amalek 
were brothers. Edom and Moab do not reveal them- 
Bclves to us in the nomad state at any stage of their 
existence. Israel led in succession both modes of 
life. Amalek, a member of the Edomite family,! 
and Midian, connected with Abraham through 
Cethura, never settled down in one place. The Ama- 
lekites continued to roam over all the peninsula of 
Sina'i and to the east of Palestine when the rest of 
Edom had for centuries settled down in one place. 
They then lived mingled with the other populations of 
Palestine until they were absorbed by the Israelites. 
It may be said that these peoples went through three 
successive stages of existence: first the puie nomad 



* See ttljove, pp. 51- 
t GeneBis, cb. sxxvi,, 



. 12, 16. 



94 HTSTORF OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

stage, like that of the Hebrew patriarchs ; then the 
stage of mixture with sedentary populations, analo- 
gous to the life now led by the metualis of Syria — 
this being the condition of Israel from its entry into 
Canaan up to the time of David, and of Araalek 
among the Israelites until its absorption ; and lastly, 
the stage of small nationalities more or less compact, 
with a national god, this being the state in which we 
always find Edom and Moab, and in which Israel is 
found from the date of its being formed into a nation 
about the time of David. 

The Hebraic tribe soon came to be broken up into 
6ub-tribe3, under the influence of polygamy, which 
created great rivalry between the half-brothera. The 
Jakobelites became divided from a very early period 
into ton families : Reuben, Judah, Simeon, Dan, Isaa- 
char, Naphtali, Asher, Zebulun, and Gad. It is 
impossible to say in what chronological order these 
various families appeared in Israel. Eeuben is always 
represented as the oldest and Benjamin as the youngest 
of the house. 

Side by side with Jacob, and upon the closest inti- 
macy with him, wo find mentioned at a very early 
epoch, the clan of Joseph or Josefel,* which seems to 
designate an addition or adjunction of congeners,t 

* Grof, RevM igypt., iv., pp. 95 and following; Stade, Zeit- 
schrift, 1886, pp. 1 aod following, 16. 

t Comp. n^DDlV Eadras, ch. viii.v. 10. As an individual 
name Joieph means tho child wbiob is born some time after the 
others, when do more are expected. Genesis, ch. icxz,, v. 24, and 
oh. zlviii., V. 1 and following. 



THE BENI-JACOB. OR BENI-ISRAEL. 95 

who became afterwards annexed to Israel. Theac late 
comers, these grandsons of Father Jacob, became 
divided into two families, Ephraim and Manasseh. 
We shall see later that a very reasonable hypothesis 
suggests itself with regard to this annexation. After 
the settlement of Israel in Canaan, we shall be Btruck 
by the superiority of the Josephites over the rest of 
Beni-Ierael, and we shall even see that Joseph will 
often be spoken of to designate the whole of the family, 
and will become synonymous with Jacob.* If, as I 
believe, the Israelites really came from Padan-Axam, 
it must be confessed that nothing is known of their long 
journey from Harran to Shechem. Shechem appears 
to have been one of the points to which they returned 
tiie oftenest, and up to the period within the limits of 
history a mimber of holy places were pointed out as 
being connected with their sojourn there. The 
Canaanite Hiwites, who inhabited Samaria, appear to 
have lived on good terms with them, though the 
memory of a bloody episode which occurred between a 
fraction of the Beni-Jacob and the people of Shechem 
had not died out.t 

* Jacob and Joseph are conetantly Bpoken of in parallel terms 
in the PsalmB. See PBalma Ixxx., v, 2, and Ixxxl., v. 6; Amos, 
eh. v., V. 16; ch. vi., v. 6. TbeBo iostaQues of polynomia arc of 
freqneDt occurrence among ancient peoples. Thus the Greeks are 
named n«Xa<r]«i, Oraii, 'A^au)/, Mvp/iildvis, &c., the Trojans, 
TpuM!, ^apSavot ; their town called 'lAiov, nipyanov, &c. 

t Genesis, ch.xzxiT. ; Genesis, ch, ilis., v. 5 — 7, a poetical frag- 
ment, ffhich may be regarded as the origin of the prose narrative. 
In this narrative ne may detect the desire to extenuate the nus- 
aondnot of the Beni-Jaoob. The passage in verse, upon the coo- 



Hebron was a not leas important centre of initiation 
for the wandering Israelites.* They lived with the 
Hittites or Khetas upon the most friendly footing, f 
The important well of Beer-Sheba, where they halted 
like 80 many generations of pastors, left profound recol- 
lections upon them,J Gerar§and Kad^s-Bame were 
their last halting-places before entering Egypt. A 
terrible desert lay before them, and beyond this desert 
of fifty miles they sniffed the land of the Nile, with 
itfl abundance, its wealth, and its delights. A sort of 
powerful attraction thereupon took possession of 
theflo poverty-stricken beings, who were reduced to 
Btruggling with the other Bedouins for a few drops of 
water, and whom anything like famine brought to a 
terrihlo plight. 

The numerous episodes of the charming pastoral 
epopa'a which was afterwards built upon this golden 
age had little that was historical about it ; and the 
artificial method attending the composition of each 
episode is easy to galher, but the colour of the narra- 
tives is truth itself. It is analogous with the Kit^b- 
el-Agh£tni of the Arabs, which is an incomparable 
picture of ancient life, though a picture containing 

trary, suggests the commissioD of a frightful crime, whicli for a long 
time rendered Israel odious to its neighbonra. 

* Genesis, cb. xiii., v. 16. 

t Note particakrly Genesis, cb. liv., v. 13 (an almost pre-historio 
passage), and ch, xxiii. 

I Genesis, cb. xxi., v. 28 and following. 

S Genesis, cb. sz., v. 2; cb. xxvi. v. 1, taking into account 
the anachronism. The Philistines were not yet established in 
Pateatine at the patriarohal epoch. 



I 



THE BENI-fACOB, OR BENI-ISRAEL. <ff 

few elements worthy of credit. There ia only one 
fragment in theae legends which has the appearance 
of being taken from authentic ancient books, and this 
18 the passage relating to the war of the four Chaldtean 
kings, which one of tho narrators has adapted more 
or less skilfully into his story.* According to this 
fragment, " Abraham the Hebrew, who dwelt in the 
plain of Mamre the Amorite," took part in the inva- 
sion of tho countries of the Dead Sea, of Kudur- 
Lagamar, King of Elami, and his allies. In oi-der to 
deliver Lot, his nephew, whom the invaders had 
carried off, Abraham the Hebrew is said to have 
formed a small army consisting of 318 of his servants, 
and had rescued his nephew from the hands of the 
four kings. This is not to be taken literally ; Lot and 
Abraham doubtless had an ethnographical meaning, 
and were intended to designate, upon one hand, tho 
general body of the Hebrew tribes, and, upon the 
other hand, the populations in the neighbourhood of 
the Dtad Sea, whom the Egyptians called Kotenu,t 
and who, according to the Israelite ethnographers, 
were the near relatives of Abraham. 

The Beni-Isracl thought too that they could remem- 
ber a time when the southern part of the Dead Sea 
was a valley, in which were situated towns the history 
of which was connected with the campaign of the 
Clhaldsean kings, and which were destroyed by a con- 
flagration of bitxunen. J The geographical theory upon 

*■ Oenesis, ch. siv. f See above, p. 10. 

I Qeneais, ob. xiv. 



I 



SlSTORF 



'LE OF ISRAEL. 



which these etories are based is one that cannot be 
admitted, inasmuch as it ia proved that the waters of 
the Lake Aephaltites have been constantly falling, and 
that the lake has, in consequence, been gradually 
getting smaller.* The strange aspect of the valley, 
with its pillars of salt, resembling veiled statues, f the 
peculiar properties of the waters of the Dead Sea, 
suffice to explain the birth of these legends.J It is 
dangerous to look too closely after history in ancient 
dreams, where spectres arc indistinguishable from 
men. But the Israelitish imagination retained a strong 
impression of those narratives, and they believed that 
the Refaim,^ phantoms of vanished races, and the 
Enakim giants peopled this "valley of the dead," 
where they still thought they could discern the living 
traces of the terrible vengeance of the just elohim. 

and following. 



. .le la t 



- Morif, 



• Lartel's I'^.q-I. ;/f. 
266 and following, 

t Robinson, Pa'., ii., 485 ; iii., 22 and following; Seetzen, i., 
42B; ii., 227, 240; Lyncb, Narrative, eh. xiv. 

} Genesis, ch. xiv., xviii., xiz. 

^ Job, cb. sx\i., V. 6. The name Siddim, said to have been given 
to the ancient valley, is perhaps a mispronuuciation for Sedim, 
" the Valley of Demons." 



CHAPTER IX. 



RELIGION OF THE BENI-I8RAEL. 



A RELIGION without a dogma, without a book, and 
without a priest is of necessity very open to external 
influences. Thus the ancient Hebrews were inclined 
to accept, with a facility which the graver among them 
severely blamed, the rites of neighbouring peoples. 
The habit of throwing kisses of adoration to the sun 
and moon struck them with astonishment, and they 
were inclined to imitate it.* The holy places of the 
Canaanit^a more especially inspired them with a 
mingled feeling of respect and dread. The Canaanite 
town of Luz contained a spot which popular belief 
associated with terrors and visions. It was regarded 
as the gate of heaven, as the foot of a vast staircase or 
pyramid, with steps (sullam) which ascended from earth 
to heaven.t The elohim occupied the summit, and 
their messengers were continually descending and as- 
cending it, bringing the earth into coramunicatioa 
with the world above. The ancient Hebrew patriarchs 
held this place in great veneration ; they called it, as 
everyone else did, Bethel; that is to say, the house or 

* Job, cb. xxxi., V. 26 and followiog. 

\ QenQBia, cb. xxviii., v. 12, IS. For the meaning of D^ 
eompare the Palmyra InHcripUon, No. 11. (Vogu6). 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL 

temple of God.* Luz, in addition to its sullam, pos- 
sessed one of the pillars, or ansab, anointed with oil, 
erected by unknown adorcra, but which the new- 
comera regarded as being quite as sacred as if they 
liad raised thoiu themselves. The Israelites adopted 
the pillar of Bethel, as Mahomet was in after days 
obliged to adopt the Caaba. It was asserted that the 
stolu iu (jucstion had been raised by the patriarch 
Jacob,t tho consequence being that this spot became 
the chief panotuary in Palestine. The God of Bethel 
was regarded as the chief sanctuary in Palestine ; the 
God of Bethel was looked upon as the supreme master 
of the countr}', with power to dispose of it as his own 
property. Subsequently he was identified with lahveh, 
and it was supposed that the Israelites had received 
from this powerful local god a formal donation, which 
constituted theii- title to the possession of Palestine. J 
It was admitted that each people held the land of 
which it was owner from its own god, though it should 
be added that this same god often took the laud from 
others to give it to his chosen people. § 
The masses are always idolatrous, and the puritans 

* GenesiB, ch. xU., v. 8; cb. xiiL, v. 8, 4; ch. xxviii., v. 
10—22; ch. xxxi.. V. 9—15; eh. kskv., v. 1 and foUowiog. AU 
theEQ paesRgos ia tbo history of Jacob are strongly polytheistic. 

4 GeneBiB, ch. xxviii., v. 19. It is sot the bIods but the place 
which Jacob calls Bethel. Tho couoection with hetylti (Sonchooia- 
thoo) romaiQe doubtful. 

t Gcneais.ch. xiii., V. 3 — 4 ; ch. xj:\-iii., v. 13— 16 ; 20— 21. See 
above, p. 80. 

5 Judges, oh. xi., v. 24, and the whole of the supposed message 
of Jephthah. 



REt.mtON OF THE BENI-rSRAEL. 



I 



I 



of the Israelitish clan had great difficulty in preventing 
the unenlightened, women more especially, from prao- 
tiaiug the Aramaic and Canaanite superstitions. The 
chief ahuse was with the teraphim^ a kind of idol, firo- 
bably made of carved wood, which were carried on the 
person, and were regarded aa a sort of household goda 
and domestic oracles. • The wise men protested against 
these follies. The name of lahou, or lahveh, the equi- 
valent of El, was no doubt much respected, but the 
sages of these very ancient times seemed to descry a 
danger in this proper name, and preferred the names 
of El, Slion, Saildai, and Elohim. The name of Abir 
lakob, "the Fort of Iakob,"t was for a long time 
employed and was in common use some time before 
that of lahveh. The offering of the first-fruits, and 
therefore of the first-born, to the Divinity was one 
of the oldest ideas of the so-called Semitic peoples. 
Moloch and lahveh, more especially, were conceived as 
being the fire which devours that which is offered to 
it, so that to give to God was to give food to the fire. 
What was consumed by the fire was consumed by God. 
In this way the most revolting misapprehensions took 
root. Moloch was a terrible bull of fire, J and to offer 
the first-born to Moloch was to offer them to the fire, 



*■ Genesia, cb. xxxi., v. 19 
v. 2, 1) ; Judges, cL. x\iii., v. 
V, 5) ; Firat Book of Samuel, 

\ The BleBfling of Jacob, c 
xlix., r. 24. 

\ DiodoroB Sienlns, XX., xiv., 6. 



80, 34 (compare GencBie, ch. xxxv., 
14 and following (compare cb. rvii., 
ch. xm., V, 13, 16. 
very ancient fragment, Genesis, oli. 



either by allowing them to be burnt outright or to 
passed through the flames. 

The conseciuenec of these hideous chimeras was 
human sacrifiee upon so appalling a scale that the idea 
of looking for some substitute soon suggested itself. 
The first-bora was replaced by an animal or a sum of 
money.* This was called "the money of the lives." f 
The wise King of Ur-Casdim seems to have owed 
Bome of the respect with which he was treated to the 
fact of his having immolated a ram in the stead of hig 
son, when circumstances called for the sacrifice of the 
latter. J Real immolations were not rare with the 
Phcenicians, § especially among the Cai'thaginiaus. i| The 
Hebrews or Teraehites also sullied themselves some- 
times with these abominations, ^f In the event of 
pressing danger in Phoaniciaj C'arthage, and the land 
of Moab, the sovereigns and the great made, in com- 
pliance with the eruel popular prejudice, the sacrifice 
of some oue dear to them or of their eldest son. We 
have a striking example of this among the Moabites at 
the time of Elijah and Elisha. The example of Jcphthah 
and the legend of.Abraham'8 sacrifice show that the 
Beni- Israel were no more exempt than their congeners 
from this odious rite. 



• Numbers, ch. xviii., v. 16 and following. 

f JTitPaa VpD. Second Book of Kings, ch, sii., v. 6. 

I See above, pp. 63, 64. 

§ SancLoniathoD, p. 86 (Orelli). 

II Corpm iiiscr. semit., Nob. 171, 194. 

H Mesn, Second Book of Kings, ob. iii. , v. 27 ; Comp. Piodoras 
Sionlne, XX., xiv. 



RELIGION OF THE BENl-tSRAEL. 



I believe that the perilous idea of the oifering of the 
first-bom did not bear fruit previous to the national 
epoch, when the people were established in Canaan, 
and when lahveh had become their local god, as Caraoa 
was the local god of Moab. The national religion is 
always the bloodiest one. In the pnmitive elohism, 
monstrosities of this kind were condemned, and they 
muflt have been extremely rare among the nomads. 
Among the pagan practices reproved by Job, human 
sacrifices are not mentioned, doubtleas because they 
did not exist to his knowledge. In any event the 
civilising influence of the Israelite prophets succeeded, 
at a very early period, in substituting for this blood- 
stained rite the inoffensive ofiering up of the first- 
bom of the flock. A ransom, not properly explained, 
represented the primitive immolation of " that which 
opens the womb."* The God of Abraham was always 
credited with having a strong aversion from human 
sacrifices. The horrible sacrifices of children, which 
were the disgrace of the seventh century B.C., re- 
mained unknown, it would appear, to the patriarchal 
tent. 

The agents of civilisation were, even thus early, 
endeavouring, by well-considered practices, to extend 
culture and restrain barbarism. Their purpose was 

* Book of the alliance, Exodas, ch. xicii., v. 26. Compare the 
Elohist paBEage, Exodas, ch. xiii., v. 1 — 2, 10 and following. The 
expreBsiou rn37n (v. 12) Ib the expressiou employed everj'where 
else to express the act of passing childrea through the fire in 
honour of Moloch. See Second Book of Kings, ch, rii,, v. 8; 
Gesenias, Thu., p. 985. 



10+ HISTORF OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

to eEfect the education of the body as well as that of 
the mind. One of the causes of physical and moral 
filth was the hahit of eating carrion and unclean 
animals. The distinction between pure and impure 
animals is a yery old one, although the list of those 
which were prohibited was only drawn up later 
and has varied considerably.* The pig, which in the 
East was very subject to trichinosis, was at first 
placed among the meats to ho avoided. A direction 
followed by all those who were afraid of doing wrong 
was not to drink blood, and to avoid eating animals 
which had not been bled.f The blood was regarded 
as the constitutive clement of tho person. It was a 
maxim that " the soul is in the blood," so that to 
assimilate a man's blood was to absorb him and to 
eat him up. 

Among the observancea which, under the cover of 
the Semitic religions, have made the round of the 
world, and which seem to go back to the Terachite 
period, must be included, as it would seem, that of 
circumcision. The unvarying custom of the Elohist 
narrator is to ascribe the origin of circumcision to 
aute-Mosaic times,! and his reason for doing so was 
probably based upon tho observation that most of the 
Terachite peoples practised circumciBion, though not 



* See lisU in Leviticus and DeuteioDomy. 

t First Book of Ssmuc], oh. xtv., v. 81 and foUovring, oncieDt 
test, fonning part of a whole in whiuh the instractiouB of the 
Thora propeily so called ore ignored. 

} Oenesis, cli. xvii. ; zxi., v. 4 ; xxxiv., t. 16 and following. 



RELIGION Of THE BENI-ISRAEL. 



nearly so regiUarly aa the Beni- Israel.* The popula- 
tionB of Syria and Arabia, in particular, practised the 
operation long before Islam. The ancient Greeku 
remarked this; only they were wrong in believing 
that Egypt was the sole origin of this custom.t Ab 
to the Israelites, they never classed the Moabites 
and Edomites as garelim, or uncirenmoi8ed.J This 
qualification was originally applied by them only to 
the Phili8tines,§ who were undoubtedly Cretans or 
Carians. 

At first this custom was not so general and had not 
the religious signification which was given to it after- 
wards. It was an operation resorted to by many tribes, 
and it was one which had its physiological reasons.!] 

* CiroDjnoision of Ishmael, GeneBis, cb. xvii., v, 23, 2S and 
following. Job., Ant,, I., xii., 2. 

t HerodotuB, iL, 80, 86, 87, 104 ; Diodorua Sicnlns, I., xxviji., 
8; in., xxxii., 5; Agathflichidaa, D« man En/tlir., Gl; Strabo, 
XVt,iv.,17; XVn.,iii.,5. Comp. Job., ^tU., Vm.,x., 8 : ConiTf 
Apum, I., 22 ; Ei)iph., Hter, i., 88 ; is., 30 ; Origen, ComtMmt. in 
Gen., 10; EusebiuB, Priep. evnn-j., vl, 11 ; PhiloBtratuB, H. E., 
iii., 4; ScbabrisUui, trans. Haarbriicker, Ji., 354. — Upon the 
other hand.HeeJoa., /Inf., XlII.,u(., 1; zi.,8; T7/<i, 23. "Circatn- 
cieion was practised, but waa not compalsory, in Egypt. The 
royal mnmmieB whose geneiativo parta have not been removed are 
many of them nnaircumcised. A statue at Goiilaq, appertaining 
to the firat dynasty, Ib circumciBed." {Note from M. Masporo.) 

X Jeremiah, ch, is., v. 25, does not prove anything on this head. 

g lasbar, in 2ud Book of Samuel, ch, i., v. 20; Judges, ch. 
xiv., V. 8, and in general tbrpnghout the Booka of Judges and of 
Samuel. The Canaanitea were for the most part uncircamcised. 
Genesia, zsxiv. Bancboniathon (Orelli), p. 36, is scarcely worth 
attention. The idea of a connection between the sacrifice of the 
first-born and circumcision is quite superficial. 

II Philo, De circumcuioju, 0pp., ii., 210 and following, 




Without it, certain races of the East would have been 
to a certain extent impotent, and would have been 
doomed to acts of lamentable impurity.* The opera- 
tion was often performed just before marriage.t The 
young man was then called hatan damim, " the bleed- 
ing betrothed."} The same custom still exists among 
some Arab tribe8.§ With other tribes the circum- 
cision was an annual festival, and all the adults bom 
in the same year were circumcised upon the same day. 
This was their introduction to sexual connection, 
■which had hitherto been debarred them, and from this 
date they were at liberty to marry.|| But this mode 
of proceeding had great drawbacks. As the operation 
is a much more serious one for adults than for 
children^ the circumcision of children became the 
rule. The reasoning wliich led to this was analogous 
to that which has in our day led to compulsory 
education. It was not imreasonably regarded as a fault 
for parents to omit doing what would prevent their 

• Quia pneris pncpuUam apod eoa molto longias est qnain apud 
HOB, qnod in re veoeren multum tiocet. J. deTbevenot, Voyagn I., 
ch. xxxii. ; Niebuhr, /'met, dt VArabii^, p. 69 ; Winer, Bibl, Btalu:, 
i., p. 169. Tbe root J^ signifies "to be too long, and has no 
meuing, either reli.L^ioue or irreligions. 

t Oeneais, ch. zixiv., Elobiat pEirt. 

X Exodns, ch. tv., V. 26 nnd following. With regard to the 
varied meSDing of ^^, signifjing at once " to circumcise^ eon-in- 
taw, father-in-law," xoe Btade and Wellhnnsen quoted below ; 
GeeeniaB, Then., p. 589. 

5 Wellhausen, Pnl., p. 8G0. 

II Stade, Zduchrift /ur dU uUleit. Witt., 1885, p. 136 and 
following (after Ploss). 

5[ Genesis, cb. xzziv., v. 24 aod following. 



RELIGION OF THE BENI-ISRAEL. ,07 

children from suffering from a far more painful opera- 
tion in after life. 

The word garel^ indicating the natural state of the 
organs,* in time became aynonymous with sullied ; and 
this was a gross insult, especially when addressed to 
the PhiUstines-t The operation of removing the gorla 
assumed a hieratic meaning, and as generally happens 
in a case of this kind, the distinction between the 
sacramental accessory and the principal was lost sight 
of. In very ancient times the operation was performed 
with flint knives, because there was no such a thing 
as a metal blade. % It w'as for a long time believed 
that the use of the flint knife was compulsory, and it 
was still employed even after the dift'usion of metals. 
Moreover, the oi-iginal reason for the operation was 
lost sight of, and races which from a physiological 
point of view had no need of it adopted it, regarding 
it as a religious initiation and a purification. Circum- 
cision, in a word, after being a useful precaution in 
certain cases, became a practice deemed good for all 
men, and eventually compulsory upon all. This is what 
one so often finds in the history of religions. A precept 



* It is cations that the ttncircumcised should never be desig- 
nated in Hebrew by the negntiou of circamcision, blQ3'M^> for 
in stance. 

1 cViS is abeady found in use as a word of insult to the 
Philistines, in an authentic chant of the time of David (Second 
Book of Samuel, oh. i., v. 20.) 

X ExodnB.ch. iv.,v. 25; Joshua, ch. v., v. 2 and following ; Hero- 
dotus, u., 86. This usage is still prevalent id AbyssiniH, Ladolf, 
Hm[. w[A.,i., 21. 

VOL. I. K 



oS HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OFISRAE 

which has its local and individual use becomes, ■ 
that it has been treated as sacred, a universal precept, 
which is adhered to in climates and by peoples which 
have no need for it. 

Islamisra intensified the error of Judaism. A custom 
which had its use for certain Eastern races made diflfer- 
ently from what wo are, spread among races to whom 
it brought more drawbacks than advantages. Tiie idea 
that the peoples who had not undergone this operation 
wore in some measure impui-e, and that all contact with 
them should be avoided, was a particularly unfortunate 
one, for it led the Israelites to commit the moat revolt- 
ing acta of intolerance,* for which those whom they 
maltreated avenged themselves by jests, and for their 
taunt of lonffusf was thrown back the epithet citrhts. 

The adoption of this usage by the Israelites may be 
regarded, then, as a great historical blunder. Circum- 
cision was in the religious life of Israel an act iu con- 
tradiotion with their function, and which was very 
nearly causing it to miss its providential function. 
The rigorists took advantage of this practice to preach 
total sequestration. When the genius of propaganda 
and the dream of a univeraal religion for the human 
race became the dominant idea of Israel, circumcision 
stood in the way as the great obstacle. It was very 
nearly causing the whole scheme to fail. If St. Paul 



* The compolHorf ciroumciaioua in the time of the Asmonenna ; 
i^ea that the allies of Israel ought to bo ctrcamcised. S»nchoDin- 
thon (Orelli). p. 36. 

+ This is the meaning of the words hl'S = J/ . 



RELIGION OF THE BENI- ISRAEL. 109 

had not got the better of his straggle with James, 
Clirisfianity, that is to say universal Judaism, would 
have had no future before it. 

Like nearly all the primitive peoples,* the Hebrews 
believed in a sort of doubling of the person, in a 
shadow, a pale and vacuous figure, which, after death, 
descended under the earth, and there led a sad and 
gloomy esistence in dark and sombre chambers.t 
These were the Manes of the Latins, the Neci/es of the 
Greeks. The Hebrews called them Refdim, a word 
which seems to have meant phantoms, and to have 
been employed much in the same way as heroes. % 
signifying at once heroes and the dead. The abode of 
these poor exhausted beings was called scheol. It was 
conceived upon the analogy of the family tombs, where 
the dead rested side by side, so much so that to descend 
into scheol was synonymous with being gathered to 
one's fathers. § The dead existed there uncouscious, 
without knowledge, without memory, in a world without 
light, abandoned of God. || There was no recompense, 
no punishment. " God did not heed them." Those 



* See above, pp. 2J, 34 and following; Beville, Rflhi. ila 
jmiplei non-civilket, vol. 1., pp. 67 imd following; vol. ii., pp. 89 
and following, 203 and following. 

+ Inscription of Egmimazar, Corpus inac. lemit., part 1., No. 8 ; 
inscr. of Tobuith, Acad, lit'* Inner, et Belies- Letlra, June 2i, 1887. 

I Eeroopolis = llSS-bi:^, Typbonian fables; Valley of tbe 
Erfaim or Heroes =: Fables of the Dead Sea, 

§ Genesis, ch. sv,, v. 15; ch. jxxx., v. 29. 

II Paftim vi., V, 6; Ixssvui., v. C and following; ckv., v. 17 
and 16 ; IsaiBb, ch. sxxviii., v. 18 and following ; Job, ch. siv., v. 
21,22. 



no HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



persons n'ho had any sort of enlightenment saw very 
clearly that an existence of this kind was very much 
like anniliilation; but most of them, nevertheless, be- 
thought themselves of scciiriug a good place, a com- 
fortable bed, against the day that they should join tho 
Refaim. "What gave the greatest comfort was to thiuk 
that one would be among one's ancestors and resting 
with them.* Ideas of this kind seem to have had a 
stronger bold upon the imagination of the Phcenicians 
than of the Ilebrews.t It would appear as if the wiser 
of the Hebrews took precautions to prevent the masses 
from being engrossed by these ideas, which as a rule 
have such a fascination for the people. The descent 
into hell and the peregrinations athwart the circles 
of the other world, such as absorbed the thoiights of 
the Assyrians and Egyptians, savoured to them of 
impiety. J 

All this was due to the profound separation which 
the Hebraic conscience from the first laid down be- 
tween man and God. With the Aryan the Pitris, or 

* GenesiB, ch. xxv., v. 8; xxsv,,v. 29; ch. K!ix,,v. 29; Nnm- 
berB, ch. xx., v, 26; Judges, ch. li., v. 10; First Book of Kings, 
oh. ziii., V. 28 ; Second Book of Kings, cb. xxii., v. 20 ; Ezeldel, 
oh. xxxii., V. 18 and following. 

\ EBmanazaraDd Tabnith inscriptions, texts of prioelesa valne, 
becanse they give as a fair idea of what a, ro/a'a TeaBoning was 
like. 

X It may be added tbnt the Egyptians and Assyrians appear to 
have fonned, successively or flinmHaneously, the two ooncepUons, 
of a sad and gloomy se/iei'l, and that of an nner life full of rewords 
and expiations, Maspero, in the llevue ile VhUtoire lies rtligiovs, 
1886, vol. xiii., pp. 125 and following; Elndt» egyptienno, vol. 
i, pp. 185—190. 



RELIGION OF THE BENT-ISRAEL. 1 1 1 

ancestors, were gods, and consequently immortal. In 
Eg}'pt the dead man becomes an Osiris, a divine and 
eternal spirit. The Hebrew patriarch regarded such 
ideas as highly indecorous. God alone is eternal ; an 
eternal being would be God. Man is essentially fleet- 
ing, lie lives a few brief days and then disappears 
for ever. There 'are, no doubt, some very virtuous 
men, friends of God, whom God carries up that they 
may be with him.* But, apart from these elect, it is 
the fate of man to disappear in oblivion. He has 
uo reason to complain if he has been accorded a fair 
length of years, if he leaves children to perpetuate his 
family, if, after his death, his name was prououueed 
with respect at the gate of his place.f In default of 
all that, an iad, a pillar bearing his name, is some con- 
solation; J not much it is true, but better than none 
ataU. 

The latent consequences of such a conception of life 
were that the justice of God did not extend beyond this 
lower world, a fact which must have perplexed the 
simple patriarch with much astonishment. The Book 
of Job was not itritten for another thousand years, but 
even at the eaily age of which I am speaking it must 
have been thought. The sage was perplexed to know 
what to say when he saw a wicked man prospero\is, a 
just man rebuked. But the world was still very 



• Enoch: GeneBia.ch. v., 
of Babylonian origin. 

+ Rnth, cL. iv., V. 10, 14. 
\ Isaiab, ch. Ivi., v. S, 



>. 22. But this legend appears to ba 



rii HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



simple-minded, and the solutions, which were at a later 
date regarded as insufficient, were accepted as giving 
a more or less reasonable explanation of the providen- 
tial governmeDt of the universe. 

The belief was that evil produced evil of itself, and 
perforce entailed punishment, oven when the law was 
transgressed unwillingly.* There was no distinction 
between sin and error.f The family was regarded as 
a principle so sacred that a breach of the conjugal tie, 
even in ignorance, entailed death and the moat terrible 
chrtstiBements.J Good, upon the contrary, was re- 
compensed by long life and a numerous posterity .§ 
This took place almost automatically, so to speak. 
God slew the man who did any peculiarly evil deed.|| 
Life was a good gift, a favour of God. Long life was 
the reward of the just- The man without reproach 
might be severely tried, but God would avenge him ; 
he saw his children and his children's children, even 
to the fourth generation, and he died at the age of six 
score years, full of days.^ 

* Double meaning of vords bQ7, Hitt?, Ac, Bigaifying at the 
same time the evil and the punishment. Genesis, ch. xlii., v. 21, 
22, 2S; Second Book of Samnel, ch. xiv., v. 9 and following; 
Isaiah, cb. v., v. IS. 

t Note corefnlly the abados of meaning of the \'erb Han- 

\ Genesis, ch. xii., v. 17 and following; ch. xviji., xix. ; cb. 
XX., v. 6 ; ch. Jutvi., v. 10. 

§ Exodns, ch. i., v. 21. 

]] Genesis, ch. ixiviii,, v. 7, 10. 

^ Job, last verse, It vas the same with Tobias atid Jtiditb. 



CHAPTER X. 



THE BRNI-I8RAEL IN EGYPT. 



The counter-influence of the arrival of the Semites in the 
regions of the Mediterranean promptly made itself felt 
in Egypt. Egyptian civilisation was from two to three 
thousand years old when this great event iu the world's 
history took place. Up to that time Egypt had been 
familiar, in the Sinaitic peninsula and in the regions 
bordering upon the isthmus, with hands of plunderers 
(saii or s/iastts), differing very little in their habits 
from the low-class Bedouin,* but of doubtful race. 
But there can be no doubt, upon the contrary, as to 
the Semitic character of these Hyhsos, or " Pastors, "t 
who, more than two thousand years B.C., interrupted in 
a measure the current of Egyptian civilisation, and 

* Maspero, Hixt. anc. dea peiiiAet de iOnnil, pp. 101 and fol- 
lowing. (About 2,400 or 2,600 cc. at latest.) 

t The learned Jews of AlexDndriB, having heard of MaQetbon'e 
llislor'j of E-iypt, sought in it a connecting link of tte relations of 
Israel with Egypt, The comparison with the Fyksos struck 
them, and this was the starting point of interpolations in Maue- 
tbon's text, some intended to favoni the Jewish system, the 
others, upon the contrary, conceived in a spirit of depreciation 
towards Israel. See JoBephus, Contn- Apiou,!., 14, 26; M&Iler, 
Fragm. hist, gr., n., pp. 514, 566, 578, 579. 




HISTORy OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



founded at Zoan (Tanis),* near the Istbinus, the centre- 
of a powerful Semitic state. These Hyksos were to all 
appeui-ances Canaanites, near relations of tho Hittitea 
of Hebron. Hebron was in close community withZoan, 
and there is a tradition, probably based upon hietorical 
data, that the two cities were built nearly at the same 
time.t As invariably happens when barbarians enter 
into an ancient and powerful civilisation the Hyksos 
soon became Egyptiaoised. They raised Egyptian 
temples to the Semitic god Sufekh (Sydyk), and 
adapted Egyptian hieroglyphics to their requirementa. 
It seems indeed that it was in this mixed country of 
Zoan that the so-called Phoenician or Semitic writing 
was invented, J The necessity of transcribing Semitic 
mimes into Egyptian led to phonetism, that is to say to 
a choice of hieroglyphic characters which were stripped 
of their meaning, and retained only their sounding 
8ignB.§ This was exactly what the Chinese Buddhista 
did to render the Sanskrit words,|| and especially 



* Tho great retrenched camp of the Hyksos Krioui'iron (Avaris), 
ifl probably Eaal-Saphon or HeroopoUB. 

t Numbers, ch, xiii.,v, 22, 

X Memoir of M. <1e Rouge upon the Oriifhi-- lyijptimnt de 
I'dliiliahet iilti-nicu-ii, read before tlie Aciid>.-mie des Inscriptions, 
published in 187-1, after the author's doAth. 

^ Phonetics had long been in existence nniofig the Egyptians. 
What the Semites did was, first, to suppress the ideographical 
part and the conaouantieal syllabic pnrt of words : second, to select 
a single sign for each sound, in place of tho Egyptian bomophonea. 
This is rather a systematisation of the principle of phonetism than 
a discovery of the principle itself, (Note of M. Staspero,) 

II Stanislas Jnlien, Komi aavierits ilaim ti's lirrn ekinoit. 
(Paris, 1861). 




what was done by the Japanese, the Coreans, and the 
Anuamites, when they extracted very reduced alpha- 
bets from the infinite variety of C'hinese characters. 
The Hyksos thus laid down the principles of alphabetic 
writing, and their selection of twenty-two characters, 
made with a very accurate appreciation of Semitic 
phonetics, has remained an established fact. Governed 
by the habits of Egyptian hieroglyphics, which takes 
account of the articulation alone, they wrote the con- 
sonant only, which is a very insignificant omission 
from the Semitic point of view, hut which became of 
capital importance when the alphabet of twenty-two 
letters was adopted by other races. The Greeks, a 
thousand years later, made good this deficiency by 
forming vowels with the Semitic aspirates, and thus 
was constituted the writing which all peoples have 
adopted. Hebron no doubt was acquainted with the 
invention of the Hittites of Zoan, adopted it, and pos- 
sessed writings from a very remote date.* This was 
probably the source whence the Moabitesf and the 
IsraelitesJ derived it, unless we prefer to suppose that 
they copied it direct from Zoan, which is assuredly not 
an inadmissible hypothesis. 
The Hyksos of Zoan could not fail to exercise a great 

* Hence perhaps the narrative of the fourteenth chapter of 
Geueaia. The KhetHS were familinr with hnndwritrng about 1300 
B.C. Maspero's IIUtoiTe, pp. 224, 225. 

t The oldest MoahJte inscription is that of Mesa, about 875 

B.C. 

X The oldest knovm Israelite inscription is that of the tQDDol of 
Siloh, ftt Jemsalem, abont 700 b.c. 



116 HISTORF OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



influence upon the Hebrews wlio were encamped around 
Hebron, the Dead Sea, and in the southern districts 
of Palestine. The antipathy which afterwards existed 
between the Hebrews and the Cauaanites was not as 
yet very perceptible. The harvests in Egypt being 
much more regular than in southern Syria, the Khetas 
sometimes received from the Egyptian kings gifts of 
com.* From Kades-Barne or Gerar to the cantons 
fertilised by the Pelusiac branches uf the Nile it was 
not much more than a hundred nud twenty miles. The 
Bedouin, as I have ab-eady said,t bad a double feeling 
towards organised civilisation: upon the one hand 
aversion, due to the keenest of all jealous motives, that 
of impotence ; upon the other hand an almost esces- 
sive admiration. The products of civilisation were 
quite beyond him ; he regarded them as being almost 
miraculous. The resultant of these conti'adietory sen- 
timents was upon the whole an attracting influence. 
The greatest delight of the semi-barbarian is to gather 
where he has not planted. The comfort enjoyed and 
the profit made in this to him unknown world fasci- 
nated him like a mirage. He admired everything, 
down to the bread which he ate and the onions with 
which he was fed, but he soon became dissatisfied with 
the small value attached to his services and the amount 
of work expected from him in return. A kind of 
nostalgia gained hold iipou him, and finding himself 
treated as a labourer his one thought was of how he 



' Maspero, p. I 
+ See nbove, p; 



. 54 and following. 



THE BENI-ISRAEL IN EGYPT. 117 

should efi'ect his exodus at any sacrifice, only to regret 
as soon as he had succeeded the wages which he re- 
ceiyed and the onions which he ate in what he calls 
his " house of bondage." * 

Things are still much the same in the present day. 
The infiltration of Arabs into Lower Egypt is going 
on upon a large scale. The Arab remains for a while 
distinct, and is exempted from forced labour, but in 
time he becomes assimilated with the fellah, and is not 
in any way to be distinguished from the rest of the 
population. 

There are the best of reasons for believing that the 
immigration of the Beni-Israel took place at two sepa- 
rate times.f A first batch of Israelites seems to have 
been attracted by the Hittites of Egypt, while the 
bulk of the tribe was living upon the best of terms 
with the Hittites of Hebron. These first immigrants 
found favour with the Egyptianised Hittites of Mem- 
phis and Zoan ; they secured very good positions, had 
children, and constituted a distinct family in Israel. 
This was what was afterwards called the clan of the 
Josephcl^ or the Beni-Joscph. Finding themselves well 
off in Lower Egypt, they sent for their brethren, who, 
impelled perhaps by famine, joined them there, and 
were received also favourably by the Hittite dynasties. 
These new-comers never went to Memphis. They re- 
mained in the vicinity of Zoan, where there is a land 



* EsoduB, ch. siii., v. 3, 14; eb. is., v. 2. 

t Read carefully Qenesie, cb. slviii., v. 1 and following. 



Ii8 mSTORK OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



of Goshen,* which was alluttod to them, and in which 
they could continue their pastoral life. The land of 
Goshen, in fact, was as it were a transition between 
Egypt and the desert. The Egyptians, very hostile to 
the pastors, f as sedentary agi-icultmists always are, 
abandoned it to the populations wlio earned their live- 
lihood by the rearing of flocks. 

The whole of these ancient days, concerning which 
Israel possesses only legends and conti-adictory tradi- 
tions, is enveloped in doubt ; one thing, however, is 
certain, viz., that Israel entered Egypt under a dynasty 
favourable to the Semites, and left it under one which 
was hostile.J The presence of a nomad tribe upon 
the extreme confines of Egypt must have been a matter 
of very small importance for this latter country.§ 
There is no certain trace of it in the Egyptian tests.|| 
The kingdom of Zoau, upon the contrary, left a deep 
impression upon the iBraelites. Zoan became for them 
synonymous with Egypt.^l The relations between 

* What is now the Wadi, near iBmailin. 

t Genesis, cb. xliii., v. 32; cb. xlvi., v. 84; ch. xlvU., v. 6. 

X The incoherent nari'ative ivhich Josephus [t'ontre Apioix, i. , 26, 
27) attribates to Mnnethon implies at all events the connexity of 
thd Ilebrews and the Hyksos. 

§ The views which have been often put forward as to the 
Semitic origin of the religions reformatiun of Amenhotep IV. (worship 
of KUunaten, at Tell el'Amarna), must be abandoned, Aten, which 
has been compared to Adoii, is one of the oldest words in the 
Eg)-ptian language. It is found in the texts of the Pyramids, the 
wotding of which is post^ibly anterior to MfnOs. (Note of M. 
Waspero.) 

II Errors of Messrs. Lanth and Cbabas. 

1l Isaiah, ch. xis., v, II, IS; ch. xxx., v. 4; Psalm Ixsviii., 



THE BENI-ISRAEL IN EGYPT. 



Zoan and Hebron were kept up, and although it 
is very doubtful whether the chiefs of the Beni- 
Israel at this remote epoch had their burial-places 
at Hebron,* it may easily be believed that the two 
capitals of the Hittites retained the consciousness 
of their common origin. Hebron was proud of the 
aynchronism, which made it out seven years older 
than Zoan.t 

The first-comers, the Josephites, always assumed an 
air of superiority over their brethren, whose position 
they had been instrumental in establishing. J These 
Josephites were, it would appear, men of higher cul- 
tivation than -their fellows. Their children, born in 
Egypt, possibly of Egyptian mothers, were scarcely 
Israelites. An agreement was come to, however ; it 
was agreed that the Josephites should rank as Israelites 
with the rest. They formed two distinct tribes, those 
of Ephraim and Manasseh. Outside these two families 
there were also the sporadic Josephites, who several 
times set up their claims. But it was decided that 
they should attach themselves as best they could to the 
two families of Ephraim and jVIanasseh.§ It is not 
impossible that the origin of the name Qi Joseph (addi- 



V. 11, 43. It should be added that ibis is mainly owing lo the 
important part which the Tanilo dynasty (the 2l8t) played in the 
time of Holomon, and to the power of the feudal princes of Zotta 
tinder the 22nd, 2Jth, and 2ath dynasties. (Note of U. Maspero.) 

* Cienesis, ch. xxiti. 

f Nnmbers, ch. xiii., v. 22. 

1 Genesis, ch, xxxvii.,v. 8, &c. 

§ Genesis, ch. ilviii. 



no HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL 

tion, adjunction, annexation) may have arisen from 
the circumstance that the first emigrants and their 
families, having become strangers to their brethren, 
needed some sort of adjunction to become again part 
and parcel of the family of Israel. 



CHAPTER XI. 



INFLUENCE OF EGYPI DPON I8EABL. 



I 



Tms peaceful sojourn of Israel in tlie land of Goahen 
may have been a somewhat lengthy one, but infinitely 
less BO than is generally supposed.* I will put it at a 
century. The position of Israel during this sojourn 
was a stable and organised one, but not sufficiently so 
to exercise upon the spirit of the people an action deep 
enough to modify their patriarchal ideas, or to sub- 
stitute for the old stock of Babylonian traditions 
which they carried with them the fables of Egypt. 
Just as the Hykeos had given to their worship of Sydyk 
the forms of the Egyptian religion, so, in a certain 
measure, the lieni-Israel must have brought their 
ancient worship into keeping with the taste of their 
new country ; or rather they must have added to this 
worship of Bedouin simplicity observances which they 
saw practised around them, with a complete belief in 
their efficacy. Some parts, afterwards regarded as 
essential, of the religion of Israel, date from this 
period, and so it was that Egypt, although profoundly 

* Tbeie is no reliable chronology in regard to this. The texts 
are Quuertaio, contradictory, and, in addition, devoid of bistoriisd 




HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



pagan, came to introduce several important elements ' 
into the religious tradition of humanity. 

Egypt had possessed, from the earliest times, sacred 
teste and a somewhat extensive religious literature. 
There is no ground for believing that these texts had 
the slightest influence upon the Israelites. The latter 
did not understand Egyptian, and even if the alphabet 
of twenty-two letters existed they did not make use of 
it. The probability is that not one of the Hebrew 
emigrants had anything to do with the priests who 
taught the more or less elevated mysteries of Egyptian 
theology. They would doubtless not have come across 
a single one of these hierophants in the district, itself 
scarcely Egyptian, in which they dwelt. Moreover, 
speculative doctrines such as these, even supposing 
them to be serious, were not at all in keeping with 
the bent of their intellect. Nothing of what was rare 
or learned came to their ears. The Israelite saw 
Egypt as the Mussulman Arab sees pagan countries, 
entirely from the outside, perceiving only the surface 
and external things. Everything underwent a singular 
transformation as seen through their narrow range of 
vision. 

The comparisons between the Bible and Egyptian 
learning which would imply a thorough knowledge of 
the secrets of Egypt must then be rejected. What is 
called the Decalogue is very analogous to the negative , 
confession of the dead man before Osiris at the hour of 
judgment.* But there is no date for these little codes 
• Book of tUe Dend, cIj. 125. 



m IN FLU. 

■ of eternal moi 




INFLUENCE OF EGYPT UPON ISRAEL. 



of eternal moral philosophy ; as a rule they exist long 
before they are committed to writing. Egypt, far 
from having perfected the Israelitish religiou, in my 
opinion altered it in many respects for the worse. 

The Egyptian worship was a very idolatrous one ; 
the god dwelt in a fixed place, a temple, an ark, or 
statues, and the rites celebrated in his honour were 
very complicated. There can be no doubt that Israel, 
like the Hyksos, were affected by the contagion of these 
ideas. It is not likely that the desire to return to the 
nomad life had so far abandoned them that they built 
temples in the land of Goshen ; but one usage which 
they adopted was that of arks or tabernacles, shielding 
behind the hawks which faced each other, and under 
another large oblique wing, forming a kind of veil, 
the image of the god, invisible to the profane. In 
the Egyptian rite this small closed chapel was always 
placed upon a bark which the priests carried upon 
their shoulders in procession or during the peregri- 
nations of the god. It was a portable naos, by means 
of which the god could at times undertake long 
journeys without being deprived on the way of any 
of his honours.* From the time of theii- sojourn in 
the land of Goshen the Israelites no doubt made for 
themselves an ark of this kind to serve as a centre for 
the somewhat eclectic worship which they performed. 



* De Rouge, Etudf sttr une ttele cgyptimiM dt la Bill. Imp. 
Paris, 1858; de Vogiie, fe TeynpU de ./eiujo/em, p. 38. Lepsiae, 
Dfnkm. Abtb, iii., Bl. 189 b ; Wilkinson, A Popular Afcount of the 
Aneienl Egyptiam, vol. i., pp, 267. 270. 

VOL. r. L 



114 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

They probably carried it with them when they left 
the country. This ark was the most appropriate 
thing possible for nomad life. It followed them ia 
all their wanderings through the peninsula of Sinai, 
and we shall find it assuming extraordinary importance 
and becoming the cradle of all the religious institutions 
of Israel. The bark, which was an essential part of 
the Egyptian ark, disappeared, and its place was taken 
by a species of large chest, fitted with staves for the 
bearers and covered with sphinxes or hawks facing 
one another and folding back their wings on both sides, 
so as to constitute in the space between a sort of divine 
thi'one.* As, in the populai- language of the Israelites, 
a sphinx was called a cheruh, the privilege of being 
seated between the cherubim became as a matter of 
course the essential privilege of the national god.t 

The consecrated loaves, placed upon a table before 
the god, were one of the bases of Egyptian worship.J 
The Israelites adopted this rite and put it in practice ns 
soon as it was applicable, that is to say as soon as their 
worship had some sort of stability about it. These 
loaves were without leaven, this being regarded as a 
special condition of purity.§ To put them to a secular 
use was regarded as a sacrilege which the only ei- 
tremest necessity could justify. 



* Esodae, ch. xxv., xkxvU. 
t First Book of Saranel, ch. iv. 
lb. Ti., V. 2 ; Psalm Ixxx., v. 2 ; i 

\ Vogii^, see above. 

g First Book of Samuel, ch, xxi. ; Hosea, ch. ix, 



Second Book of Bamne! 
i., &e. 



INFLUENCE OF EGYPT UPON ISRAEL. 113 

Thus the Israelites became acquainted with the 
externals only of the Egyptian religion, its mum- 
meriea and its fetiches. The serpent god haunted 
them for centuries, both as a nightmare and a talis- 
man.* The sacred bulls, the Apis of Memphis, the 
Mnevis of Heliopolis, f and the Hathor calves seemed 
to strike them more even than anything else. } The 
unenlightened part of the Beni-Israel adopted these 
golden unagGS almost as gods of the tribe, and we 
shall find the people, whenever they could elude the 
pressure of the puritans, reverting to these visible 
protectors, to whom a pompous worship was paid. 
The usage of cries (leroua), § of loud music, of dancing 
around the god — customs which seem in nowise patri- 
archal — probably date from these times. Circmn- 
cieion among the Beni-Israel was anterior to theii- 
coining into the land of Goshen, but it is not impos- 
sible that their sojourn in this country, where the 
practice was almost endemic, || contributed to make it 
a more regular custom. 

* NnmbefB, ch. sxi., t. 8 and foUowiug ; Secood Book of Emgs, 
oh. xviii., V. i. 

t Herodotus, iii., 28; Diodorns Sicnlns, I., xxi.,.10; Strabo, 



I AJtbongb the fact bas been denied, " tbere are Apis and 
Mnevia bulls in stone and metal, some of the stone ones being of 
very large size, like the Apis of tbe Louvre, wbioh belongs to tlio 
Satte epocb, or tbe Mnevis of Boulacq, wbicb dates from tbe SOlh 
dynasty. " (Maspero.) Tbo reproductions of Hatbor arc still more 
numerous. 

! nUT^n, perhaps BpCafipoi:, triumjilitia, which do not appear to 
be Aryan words. 

i See above, pp. 105, IOC. 

l2 



ii6 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

The wiDged disk, flanked by the urwus, which 
made so great an impression upon the Phoenieiana and 
bocamo the essential feature of their art,* was doubt- 
less also adopted by the Israelites. The oldest Jewish 
seals hear this symbol, t The sphinxes certainly 
remained impressed upon the imagination of the Israel- 
ites. The cherubim are in part derived from them, 
though these chimerical beings have several times 
changed in shape, in accordance with the caprices 
of Oriental fashion, and although the very name of 
cherub seems to come i-ather from the direction of 
Assyria. "What relates to the cphod, the «nm, and the 
fhummim in the Hebrew writings is so obscure that 
no accurate idea of them can be formed. Here, how- 
ever, the influence of the winged globe, flanked by 
the urseus, seems to show itself again.J The replies of 
lahveh, when he was consulted by the urim^thummm 
of the ancient shape, resembled vei-y much those of 
the Egyptian gods. § Upon the other hand, the urm- 
thummm of the breast-plate of the Jewish priests was 
quite analogous with the costume of the Egyptian 
judges, II The sacerdotal vestments of Jerusalem were, 



• Mittion lie PhSiiine, index, p. 888. 

t Levj-, Siegtl und Qi-mmn (Brealan, I860}, pp. 38 and fol- 
lowing, pi. iii. ; de Vogiit', Mel. d'oieh. orient., pp. 181 and follow- 
ing ; Clennont-GanQeau, in the Journal atitui^iu', Feb. -March, 
1888, pp. 128 and follovring. 

I See below, p. 228. 
§ See below, p. 220. 

II Diodorus SiouIoB, I., xlviii., 6; Ixxv,, 5; EUen, Var. hitt., 
xiv,, 84. 



INFLUENCE OF EGYPT UPON ISRAEL. iij 

like all articles of luxury, borrowed from Egypt.* 
At the remote epoch of which I am speaking there is 
nothing to show that any such vestments existed, 
though the use of linea for the sacerdotal surplices 
seems to have been an imitation from Egypt, and a 
very ancient one too.f 

What also appears to be distinctly Egyptian is the 
idea of persons being called by a sort of divine heredi- 
tary vocation to have charge of religious things, and 
of their alone knowing how to offer worship and do 
honour to the gods. The clergy is of unquestionable 
Egyptian origin. Nothing could be more opposed to 
the spirit of the patriarclml society in which the 
family itself kept its own sacra. From the time of 
their sojourn in Goshen the Israelites probably had 
ministers of this kind, of Egyptian origin, whom each 
family kept in return for their religious services, 'i'his 
was what was called a levi, a word which appears to 
signify inquilinus, an adherent, an adjunct to the tribe, 
an alien. % 

It may he that this word wa3 only produced later, 
when the levls formed a sort of tribe apart, without 
any land of their own, and when it was agreed 
that Levi had been a son of Jacob to whom God 
assigned no lot because liis descendants were scattered 

* See AncesBi's VetemeiUs du 'jraml jinHre el itta liU-ites, &c. 
Paris, 1875. 

f Herodotus, U., 37 ; FiratBookof BttmaeI,ub.ii.,T. 18; t^ccond 
Book of fiamnet, ch. vi., v. 14, &o. 

X 11?^ qui (iiUiieserwU or ailjiineti sunt. Isaiah, xiv., v. 1 ; ch. 
Ivi., V. 8. 



' OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

among the other tribes aud sustained by thtiu. The j 
name of Gersom, borne by more or less fabulous j 
founders of the Lcvitieal order, apparently alludes to | 
the state of things which made members of that order 
atraagera wherever they went,* It is well, in 
any event, to observe that the levi is not in any way 
the patriarchal cohen. Every head of a family was 
eobm. In many pious tribes the chief of it was 
called co/ie»,t while the notables were cnlled cohanim.X 
These names were regarded with the utmost respect. 
The Levite, on the contrary, was little more than 
a sexton, having to do with the material aide atm 
the worship only. Thus the tribe of Levi (to employ^ 
the expression generally used) contributed very 
little, at all events up to the captivity, towards 
religious progre9s,§ and none of the mnjor prophets j 
were Levites. The lesser prophets, upon the contrary, I 
had much in common with Egypt. The habit of con- 1 
suiting the gods, who replied by signs, was one of the! 
traits of the Egyptian religion, I| The ephods and thai 
diviners who drew lots, after the manner of the Levite | 
Micah,^ are probably derived thence. 

In fine, Egy|)t, far from contributing to the reli- 



* Note the fiiogular points of reaemblanco 
ii., V. 22 ; Judges, ch. srii., v. 7 ; ob. xviii., 

t Kxodaa, cb. iii., v, 1. 

J Job, xii., V, 19. 

,^ The Levitical origia of Moaes is nn a 
comparativoly modern date. 

I] Bee p. 220. 

T Judges, ch. xvii., xviii. 



INFLUENCE OF EGYPT UPON ISRAEL. 119 

gious progress of Israel, put obstacles and dangers in 
the path that the people of God was to tread. It was 
in Egypt that originated the " golden call'," that 
perpetual stumbling-block of the masses, the brazen 
serpent which the puritans abhorred,* the lying oracles, 
the Levite, who was the leper of Israel, and perhaps 
circumcision, which was its greatest error, and was 
at one time very nearly upsetting its destinies. "With 
the exception of the ark, Egypt introduced nothing 
but disturbing elements, which had afterwards to be 
eliminated, in some cases by violent means. It was 
not the same with the data borrowed from the 
Chalda!ans. All of these were fruitful, and, with the 
exception perhaps of the unpronounceable name, re- 
mained pillars of the religion. The believing part of 
humanity finds its life in them still, and owes to these 
ancient fables a whole prehistoric epoch in which 
it finds much delight, and a cosmogony of which it is 
very proud. The genius of Israel does not come from 
ChaldEPa, but Chaldoea supplied it with the ten first 
pages of the book which has enabled it to gain so 
unrivalled a success. 

Egypt, upon the contrary, furnished it with few 
fruitful germs. And how many exquisite creations it 
nipped in the bud ! In Egypt we see the last of the 
stately Jakobelite life, aud of those grand types of 
aiistocrats, proud, honourable, and serious in religion. 
Authority passed out of the hands of the chief of the 

' Second Book of Kings, cL. wiii., v. 4 ; aud Kzokiel believed 
that Israel was idolatrous in Egypt, ch. xs., v. 7 aad following. 




130 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

tribe, and became in a measure democratised. Hence- 
forward the masses were to have a voice in affairs, and 
this voice would not always be raised in favour of 
religious puritanism. Thi; worship of the Elohim 
came to be regarded as insipid, and with the people 
ever looking back regretfully to the vulgarities of 
Egypt, it was found necessary to appease them by 
raising statues of Apis with golden horns. 

In the social and political order, the change which 
took place in Israel from its sojourn in the land of 
Goshen was a very considerable one. During the 
century which it passed in Egypt Israel had multi- 
plied exceedingly. Tlie spirit of the nomad tribe had 
gradually been fading away. At the patriarchal epoch 
we do not find a single instance of a revolt against the 
patriarch, for his authority was a purely moral one. 
But now absolute government had begotten its counter- 
part : the revolutionary spirit. The masses, soured 
by the functionaries of Pharaoh, frequently revolted 
against their chiefs. These mild families of pastors, 
whose passage the sedentary populations used to wel- 
come with delight, had become a hard, obstinate, and 
"stiff-necked" people. Their approach excited uni- 
versal apprehension ; they were an enemy. Fierce 
towards all whom they found in their path, the trans- 
formation had taken place : Israel was no longer 
a tribe, but a nation. Alas ! we have never, since the 
world began, seen or read of an amiable nation ! 



CHAPTER XII. 



EXODUS OP ISRAEL. 



Egyptian civilisation, the history of which has so 
many analogies with that of China, has this peculiar- 
ity, that, often as it has been invaded by the stranger, 
it has invariably absorbed the invader, and has always, 
after a given time, gone back to tho original level 
which the invasion had displaced. While the Hyksos 
were reigning in Lower Egypt, ancient Egypt, some- 
times tributary but in reality autonomous, continued 
to lead an unaltered life at Thebes. A long series of 
wars resulted in a victory for the native party. The 
18th and 19th dynasty founded a new empire, more 
powerful than all those which had succeeded one 
another in the Nile Valley, Fi-om being conquered, 
Egypt in her turn became conqueror, and the armies 
of Thotmes and Eameses marched in triumph over 
Syria. 

The distinguishing features of these civilisations, 
the origin of which is lost in the night of time, are an 
immense pride and au utter contempt for the barba- 
rian, who is often their superior in energy and morality, 
and who has an abhorrence of mandarin-like habits 
and of the mania for administrative routine. Vic- 



/ 



131 mSTOR}' OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

toriouB by her perseverance, Egypt treated the Semites 
of Egypt and Syria as a Chinese governor would treat 
barbarian rebels. The finest Arab tribes seemed to 
them only fit to throw up trenches and make bricks. 
The true Egyptians had the deepest antipathy for 
these pastors. There is ground for belie\'ing that 
some of the Beni-Israel, at all events the Josephites, 
had participated in the acts and favours of the Hyk- 
Bos. But all this was changed when there arose, in 
the words of the anc'ient narrator, " a king who knew 
not Joseph." The Israelites lost all the privileges 
wMch they had obtained from the fallen dynasty. 
They fell into deep distress, and in order to gain their 
living they were obliged to become labourers and do 
the hardest of all drudgery. 

Public works were at this time assuming an extra- 
ordinary development in Egypt.* In the region of 
the Isthmus, more particularly, Ramesoa II. built two 
large towna, Pa-toura, a vast assemblage of ware- 
houses and the ordinary fortified buildiDgs,t and Pa- 
Eamcaes-Aanakhtu {the city of the very brave Rameses), 
which was in a way his northern capital. J He also 
went on with the execution of the canal which connected 



' Maspero, llisi 



. des pcuptes d' Ori<^l 



' and follow- 



ing. 

-V narou/ioc of HorodotuB, ii., 15S. It ia Tell-el-MaehkntAh. 
See E. Naville, The Stor,--cUt, </ Piilwin (London, 1885). A great 
number of towna in this region were named Pn-tomi'. Tell-el- 
Maabkatah waa ondonbtedly the Pa-tonm which at the epoch of 
the Aloxandrinn translators was identified with the Pithom of the 
Bible. 

X Maaparo, of. cit., pp. 221, 224, 228, 220. 



J 



EXODUS OF ISRAEL. 



Lake Ballali and the Nile.* In order to execute 
these worksj in which it is said that the native Egyptians 
took no part,"f" it was necessary to call in the help of 
the Bedouins of the Sinaitic peninsula and of southern 
Canaan. The store-houses of Pithom (or Pa-toura) 
were built of bricks made out of clay and chopped straw, 
dried in the sun. The Beni-Israel were employed in 
making these bricks, which would not have been a 
very difficult task if they had not at times been 
obliged to go and find straw. For noble tribes, which 
regarded all labour as degrading, this was the height 
of shame and misery. Perpetual quarrels went on 
between the poor wretches who declared that they 
were overdone with work, and the rigid taskmasters 
who met each complaint with the unvarying reply 
ever addi-essed to servile labour, "Be off with you; 
you are idle fellows." 

During the long reign of Eameaes II., all idea of a 
revolt was out of the question, but the military achieve- 
ments of this reign, and the extraordinary amount of 
building that marked ita progress, produced their ordi- 
nary effect. The last years of the Egyptian Louis XIY. 
were marked by a very decided decadence. The 
reign of Menephtah, his successor, witnessed the 
commencement of the reverses which were to follow. 
Barbarians of every kind, Carians, Lycians, Pelasgi, 
Mceonians, Tyrrhenians, Lydians, and Libyans, swooped 
down upon the west of the Delta, desiroua not only of 

' Maspero, p. 228. 

f Diodoma Siculus, I., Ivi., 2. 



134 HISTORi' OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

plundering but of establishing themselves there* 
Menephtah defeated them at first, but eventually the 
barbarians gained their euds. It is from thia invasion 
that I date the establishment of the Philiatineat upon 
the coast adjoining Egypt, a country in which the Ca- 
naanite race was very scanty. Under Seti II. the Pha- 
raohs' power had become very weakened, and Egypt 
was practically powerless beyond her frontiers, while 
at home she was a prey to moral decomposition. The 
slaves rose in revolt, and in many places the Asiatics 
who had been taken prisoners and condemned to very 
severe labour, declared themselves masters of the 
country.} Large bauds of them reached the Sinaitio 
peninsula, a poverty-stricken country no doubt, but 
one in which they at all events escaped the task- 
master's whip. 

Among the fugitives were the Beni-Israel, who, 
while domiciled in Goshen, had never quite lost their 



* De Ronge, Rnut luchral., July and Angnst, 1867. 

+ Maspero, Uin. unc, pp. 267, 270. The relationahip between 
this name and the Pelnsgi is very donbtfol ; the Cretan origin of 
the Philistioes is, upon the oODtraiy, almost certain. The langnage 
of the Pbiliatincs eppSEirs to have been a Qreco-Lntiu dialect. The 
compariBons Akia = Anchwf, Goliath = Gulentut, and some others 
are also very conjectnral. But in the second volume of this work 
I shall endeavour to show that certain Greek and Latin words 
which have existed in Hebrew from n very remote date, such oB 
paibar ^ peribulos, mekiTa ^ fiay-oapa, mekone ^ muchina, pilege 
^ pcUex, liska = kiaxi, were introduced in David's time by ths 
influence of the Philistines, >^ee the typical portrait of the Philis- 
tines in Lepsins, Denkm., iii., 211. 

X Piodorus Siculus, I., Ivi., 3 and following; Maspero, pp. 261, 
262. 



EXODUS OF ISRAEL. 



'JS 



nomad habits. The Bedouins, like the Amalekites, 
whom they coDstantly saw encamped in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Bitter Lakes, excited their envy and 
brought with them, so to speak, the wind of the 
desert. It would seem that it was at Pa-Rameses, 
where they were assembled for brickiuakiug, that the 
Israelites formed their plan for escaping. The Levis 
and other low-class Egyptians who had got mixed up 
with them, and had become more or less incorporated 
with them, entered into the plot. A few of the free 
Egyptians who had reason to be discontented with the 
dynasty may also have joined in it.* The singular 
thing is that the Beni- Israel should afterwards have 
prided themselves on having spoiled the Egyptians of 
Pa-Rameses by carrying off with them valuable 
objects which they had borrowed of them.f 

What are we to think of the man who has come to 
stand out as a colossus among the great mythical 
figures of humanity, and to whom the ancient narra- 
tives attribute the principal part in this exodus of 
Israel.^ It is very difficult to give an answer. 
MoHes is completely buried by the legends which 
have grown up over him, and though he very pro- 
bably existed, it is impossible to speak of him as we 



* Exodua, ch. xii., v. 88 ; Numbers, cli. xl, v, 4. 
\ A detail wbich now eeemH iucomprebeuaible. It formed port, 
however, of the oldest narrative. See Oillmann upon Exodas, ch. 
V. 21, 22. Exodns, cb, xi., v. 1 and following; Exodos, ch. 



xu.. 



t The alleged Egj-ptiaa texts relating to Mosea have i 

bem stood the test of careful criticisni. 



. of 



136 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

do of other deified or traDsformed men.* His name 
appears to be Egyptian.^ Mos6 is probably the name 
of Ahmos, Amosis, ehortened at the beginning.J 
According to the prevalent tradition, Moses was a 
icwi,§ and we have seen that this name probably was 
used to designate the Egyptians whose services were 
required for the worship and who followed Israel into 
the desert. The name of Aharon, perhaps, is derived 
in a similar way. Moses appears to us at first as 
having been brought up by, and being a functionary 
of, the Egyptians. The fact of his killing an 
Egyptian in a moment of instinctive indignation has 



" Moses, from the historic point of view, cannot be at all com- 
pared with Jesas. Kt. Paul admits Jesus to have been a person 
who in reality existed. Now St. Paul was a contemporary of 
Jesus ; he was converted to the sect four or five years after the 
death of Jesus {see Epistlea to the Galatians). The oldest doca* 
ments relating to Moses are four or five centuries posterior to the 
epoch in which he must have lived. 

t The Alcxandriau Jews had some suspicion of this. QsMnins, 



T\h» 



.. 824. 



1 It is didicnlt, at all events, to overlook the element mot, 
" son," which is found in Thotmos, Amenmos, &c. The shortened 
form Jtlosii is aometimes met with in the Egyptian oiiomasticon. It 
is true that one would expect to find in the Hebraic transcription 
the simple sibilant, and not the chuinliiiile. See de Rouge, Bet-uf 
areheoL, November, 1861, p. 354 ; August, 1867, pp. 87—89. Bnt 
where are we to learn how the Hebrews, who first wrote the name 
of ntUQ about 1000 or 1100 n.c, pronounced the ichin ? It was 
just the time when one-half of Israel used the word sibhohtk. The 
W acd the b also are used indifferently in the old way of writing 
the name of Israel (Jesumnt &c.). Sec above, p. 90, Note *. As 
a role, in ante-srriptnral Semitic etymology, the he and the hsih, 
the Khin and the sin may be regarded as one single letter. 

§ Exodus, ch. ii.,v. 1. 



^m^m 



I 



EXODUS OF ISRAEL. 



nothing improbable about it. His relations with the 
Arab Midianites, a species of Hebrews not reduced to 
servitude by Egypt, and with the Iduniean Eenites, 
especially with a certain leter or Jethro,* whose 
daughter he is said to have maixied, also seem to have 
a semi-historical character. With regard to whether 
he was really the leader of the revolt aud the guide of 
fugitive Israel, it is unquestionably quite possible 
that an Egyptian functionary of mixed race, told oflf 
to keep watch over Ms brethren, may have played a 
part similar to that of the mulattos of St. Domingo 
and been the author of the deliverance. But it is also 
possible that all these narratives of the Esodus, into 
which fable has penetrated so deeply, may be even 
more mythical than is generally supposed, and that 
the only fact which can be depended upon out of them 
all is the departure from Egypt of Israel and its 
entry into the peninsula of Sinai. 

It does not seem as if the Israelites and their com- 
panions had any other object in view, before they left 
Pa-Ramesee, except to escape the tyranny of Pharaoh. 
If they had then the idea of conquering that land of 
Canaan in which their ancestors had wandered as 
nomads, it must have been in a very crude form. 
The first thing was to get out of Egypt, and 
two routes lay before them, one being in a north- 

' Exodas, cb. iv., sviii. The terminatioD n is a pecnliarity of 

the Arameo-Axabic dialects of tbo Midiaaito region (Siooitic [ind 

Nftbathean inBcriptiona). Upon the other hand the forms -\rv, 

'^n-, l~irv, vnrv lead one to take bfnn^ as the name of a tribe. 

c above, pp. 80, 81, 89. 



easterly direction to the MediteiTanean coast, and 
thou aloDg the one high road which had from the 
earliest times connected Syria and Egypt along the 
Hea-shore. But the nomads did not like following a 
highway, while the capital reason which prevented 
them from taking this direction was that they would 
after a few days' march have encountered the Philis- 
tines, then in the full flush of their military organisa- 
tion.* The Israelites and the emigrants who accom- 
panied them were scarcely armed at all, and a struggle 
with these rude warriors would, therefore, have been 
a hopeless one.t So it was resolved to go in a south- 
easterly direction, and reach the peninsula of Sinai as 
quickly aa possible. In three days' march they reached 
what the Semites called Pi-hahirot (to-day Kalaat- 
Agrud), opposite the retrenched camp of the Hyksos, 
abandoned or destroyed since the time of Ahmos I. 

That branch of the Eed Sea which in our days 
terminates at Suez on a very shallow shore, then 
reached, in the form of lagoons, much farther inland,J 
and extended by a chain of lakes or underground 
infiltrations to the basin of the Bitter Lakes. In reality 
the waters of the Eed Sea reached to what is now 
known as the ridge of Serapeura. To pass from Egypt 
into Asia leaving this to the north, it was necessary to 
cross pools of water belonging to the Eed Sea, though at 

* See above, pp. 131, 185. 

t Exodus, ch. xiii., v. 17, 18. 

I The minB of Colzoum (ClyBma), where people embarked for 
India op to the Middle Ages, are now two leagues inland. Suez 
has only been in euatence since the Arab conquest. 



EXODUS OF ISRAEL. 



i 



certaiu points, owing to the accumulation of sand, the 
water was not ankle-deep. The passago, however, 
was not without its danger, for the tide in these narrow 
channels would, when the wind was in a certain direc- 
tion, and at certain seasons of the year, be very capri- 
cious, and those who were not careful in the selec- 
tion of their time might well be suiTOunded by the 
waters and exposed to sink in the quicksands. No 
doubt the popular fancy exaggerated the list of acci- 
dents which really happened, and found pleasure in 
relating fictitious episodes of caravans and armies 
being submerged.* It may reasonably be imagined, 
too, that at this critical moment of the journey the 
moss of fugitives was seized with a panic which left a 
deep impression behind it. But the popular tales 
alone about the dangers of the passage would have 
furnished a sufficient basis for the sacred legend, 
marked with the most exuberant spiiit of the marvel- 
lous which afterwards came out in it. 

Among the fables with which this legend teems, 
none is more improbable than that of a pui'suit of 
the fugitives by the Egyptians, ending in a hopeless 
disaster to Pharaoh's army. Owing to the dynastic 
weakness of Egypt, the rule of the sovereigns was 
little more than nominal in the Isthmus, and a fugitive 
who had got beyond the Bitter Lakes was certain of 
his freedom. Moreover, there is nothing to indicate 
that the Egyptian Government had any desire to keep 

Compare with the legends of the "Liene de greve," in 
Biittany. 



140 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

by force within its borders a band of foreigners whose 
presence had become, to say the least of it, useless. 
All that was afterwards related about the exodus of 
Israel proves that there was no direct record of it, and 
that in the age and place where the legend was built 
up no one had any precise idea of the time and cir- 
cumstances amid which the event occurred.* 

* The song of Moses in Exodus xv. is a literary and artificial 
composition of much later date. 



L 



CHAPTER Xiri. 

ISRAEL IN THE DESEET OF PHAHiN. ^/ 

IliviNO escaped from what they always called "the 
house of bondage," the people of Israel found them- 
Belves face to face with what is perhaps the most 
inhospitable desert under heaven.* In its -western 
part it is known as the Desert of 8ur,f while farther 
east it was called Pharan. Had they continued their 
route due east they would have found nothing but va- 
cuityj and death. They turned towards the south-cast, 
following very closely the sea, or rather tho ancient 
route which the Egyptians had traced more than a 
thousand years before for working the Sinai copper 
mine3.§ The want of water was the most cruel de- 
privation. At the end of three days the fugitives 
reached a place called Mara, on account of its brackish 

■■'■ Notwithstnnding the entirely legendary chamoler of the nar- 
ratives about tha Sinaitic period, the diary of the doaert coDtaina 
many Dcrioas clemGiits which cannot ba altogether disregarded. 
See Robinson, DillmanQ, and the Ordnance Survey of the Peuin- 
Bula of Sinai, by Wilson, Palmer, &o. (1809.) 

t Pocoeke {pener., vol. i., p. 139) lias heard it called Shodnr. 
Perhaps thia may be right ; niu? might be a misluko for nia?- 

t yTyT^, still in tho present day iJ, T\h. 

\ SerboQt el-Qadim, Wadi-llaghara. 
m2 



waters,' They endeavoured, by tliG infusion of certs 
boughsj'f to render it potable, but only with indifferent 
success. The encampment at Elim J was a less trying 
one, for they found there twelve springs, scveaty-j 
palm-trees and tamarisk-trees, which afforded them I 
welcome shade. The tribe then approached nearer t 
the sea, as far as the first spurs of the vast mountaii 
chain of Sinai. The desert of Sin again subject* 
them to severe hardships, for it is a terrible country^ 
Iniro and waterless, where even in winter the floch 
of sheep can scarcely find sufficient food. 

The narratives of the incidents which occurred duril 
this march, which afterwards became the basis of I 
religion, or, to speak more correctly, of universal reli 
gion, all of them attribute the principal part to Mos^J 
I have already pointed out that this theory can only 
be accepted with considerable reserve, but it is proij 
bable, nevertheless, that the activity of the semi^ifl^ 
Egyptian Hebre^v, who seems to have had much ' 
do with the preparations for the exodus, was agaili.l 
manifested during the marches through the descrfitJ 
Another Levtle, named Ahron. or Aharon (an EgyptiaUj 
name, perhaps), stands out &idc by side with him, [ 
well as a woman named Miriam, who, according to thaj 
legend, were his brother and sister. Some narrativeB§.3 
attached more importance to these persons than do t 
versions which have come down to us. 

* Now called Ain-Howara. 

t Compare with Lesseps's VUthmc de Suez {Paris, 1804), p. Ift 

t Wadi Gharonde!, 

g Micah, ch. vi., v. 4, 



.SRAEL IN THE DESERT OF PHARAN. 



There is perhaps some foundation for what we arc 
told as to the relations which Moses established with 
the tribes to the cast of Egypt,* and these relations 
would have been useful to him in the difEcult task 
which he had assumed. But one hesitates about 
speaking of the shadows dimly outlined in the dark- 
ness of profound night as real personages. Wo shall 
see later on that the name of Aharon, in particular, is 
open to quite a different explanation. The only his- 
torical lines which we possess with regard to these 
times — the Song of Beer, t in which we can trace a clear 
allusion to what was afterwards cited as a miracle of 
Moses — show us the sarim (princes) and the nedibe 
ha-am (nobles of tho people), carrying staves of com- 
mand, and effecting with these staves, without any 
supernatural intervention, the act which more modem 
legends attributed to Moses. Nothing can be further 
removed than this short song from the idea of a single 
leader inspired of God. 

Even if tho legendary narratives did not relate to us 
the murmurings and daily revolts of the people against 
the leaders who had brought them out of Egypt, such 
scenes might be inferred A priori. Man is sensitive 
to his present misfortunes only. What ho has suffered 
always appears to liim of small account by comparison 
with what he is suffering. Hunger and thirst caused 
the slaves of yesterday to regret the onions of Egypt 
and the life of relative abundance which they had 

• See above, pp. 136, 137- 

t NambciK, ch. ssi.. v. 17, 18 (taken from the lasar). 



M4 BlSTOHr OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

enjoyed there. The leaders did not, in these circum-. 
stnnces, hesitate to resort to any of the impostiire*! 
which the ancients regarded as perfectly legitimate, J 
It was necessary to persuade these poor waifs that the 
god of their tribe was watching over them. All the 
incidents of the route wore made to serve this end. 
"Whenever a spring of water was discovered, the dis- 
covery was attributed to a miracle. Now and again 
the wind would bring npon their track a flock of 
quails, and this, they were told, was due to the god 
who watched over them and wished to relieve their 
distress. 

A trifling source of relief which those solitudes 
offer the traveller was afterwards exaggerated, to a 
rcraarkable degree, by the legend. It often happens 
that, at certain seasons, the shrubs in the desert arc 
covered with a sort of gummy exudation, by means of 
which the wanderers Bucceed in slightly appeasing 
their hunger. This is what the Arabs call mann es-semAj 
" the gift of heaven," or .simply mann, " the gift," he- 
lieving that this excrescence falls from heaven like a 
kind of white frost. The Israelites had their share of 
this trifling succour, and in after days, in lands where 
it was not known what mann was, the most fantastio 
narratives were spun upon this subject. Manna was 
described as the bread which the sons of God eat in 
heaven, and it was generally accepted that God, as an 
act of special favoiu-, had for some time fed his chosen 
people with angels' food.* 

* Paalm Ixsviii., v. 25. 



ISRAEL IN THE DESERT OF PHARAN. 



'+5 



The real miracle would have been that the Israelites 
were able to live in the desert of Sinai if they 
had been as nuraerous aud their sojourn liad been 
as long as the legend asserts. But the traditional 
story on this point is certainly full of exaggerations. 
The band of fugitives was infinitely smaller than the 
hyperbolical figures of the existing text would lead us 
to believe ; in the second place, the duration of their 
wanderings was not nearly so long as is supposed.* 
The fugitives may have brought away with them some 
com and provisions from Egypt. "With the valuable 
objects which they laid hands upon, if the narratives 
are to be believod,t they may have procured some- 
thing tn exchange from the Ishmaelite or Midianite 
traders, and so have formed a flock. Perhaps, too, 
the peninsula was not so denuded three thousand 
years ago as it is now. % The vegetable mould ap- 
pears to have formed wadis in the neighbouring 
plains. § Certain valleys were formerly dammed so as 
to serve as a reservoir for the winter rains. Il 



' The forty years (Amoa, cli. ii., t, 10) recall the forty days' 
journey of Elijah to Horeb (First Book of Kings, ch. xix., v. 8), 
The oldest texts did iiot make nny calculation of the lengtli of 
sojourn in the dcaerl. 

t Numbers, ch. xx., v. 19 (tskcn, it would Reem, from the book 
of the \\\m of lahieh), would lead one to inter that thay had 
articles of value with them. 

X Ordnance Siircey, pai-t i., pp. 'iS, 19-1, and following. 

§ I owe this information to the Suez Canal Company, 

II Djkcs have been fouud which, at the time of the 5th, 6th, 
and 12th dynasties, formed lakes, around which were clustered the 
villnges of the Egyptian miners. (Note of M. Maspero.) 



A- 



146 

At the present day the peninsula, if we except the ' 
convent of St. Catherine, is peopled by a few hundred 
Bedouins, who arc plunged in the deepest poverty. 
Formerly the population was^heyond doubt larger. The 
Amalekitea and the Midianitos, who appear to have 1 
been very numerous tribes, lived there for cen- 
turies.* Pharan, which is identical with Kaphidim, 
afterwards gave its name to tho Pharanitcs,"!' who, in 
their time, were of almost as much importance aa the 
Saracens. 

Tho voyage of Israel through the desert was a pas- 
sage, not a sojourn ; but the impression which this 
short period of miserable existence left upon the minde 
of the people was very deep. All the circumstances, 
of which a more or less distorted recollection waa 
preserved, were regarded as sacramental, and the 
theocratic caste afterwards moulded them to the pur- 
poses of its religious policy. The slightest incidents 1 
were magnified, and the manna and the quails were 
adduced as proofs that the people bad been miracu- 
lously fed, and that God himself hud been their guide, 
and had marched before them in the way. Upon these 
vast solitary plains, where tlie atmosphere is so lu- 
minous, the presence of a tribe can be detected from 
afar by the smoke which ascends straight up towards 
the skj'. Night time is often chosen for a march, and 
in that case a lighted lantern, fastened on to tho end 



* Genesis, cb. XXV., T. 18; First Book of Samncl, ch. xv., v. 7; 

:h. !l5Tii., T. 8. 

+ Ptolem(cu«, v., ivii., 8. 



ISRAEL IN THE DESERT OF PHARAN. 1^7 

of a long pole, id often used as a rallying sign,* This 
column, invisible by day, luminous by night, was the 
Tcry God of Israel, guiding His people through these 
solitudes."!" This good genius of the desert had shown 
such a special affection for Israel that the people came 
to invoke liim in a quite personal way. The God who 
had brought Israel out of Egypt and enabled them to 
live in "the land of thirst" was not the abBolutc 
Elohim, the great God, King, and Providence of the 
whole universe. He was 'a god who had a special 
affection for Israel, who had bought them as merchan- 
dise. How far we are hero from the ancient patri- 
archal God, just and universal \ The new god of 
whom I am speaking is in the highest degree partial. 
His providence has only one aim, and that is to wateh 
over Israel. He is not as yet the god of a nation, for 
a nation is the produce of the marriage of a group of 
men with some land, and Israel has no land ; but he ; 
is the god of a tribe in every sense of the word. Great 
is the decadence from the ancient Jakobelite, whose 
genius finds fresh expression iu the Book of Job and 
who had a far higher idea of God and of the universe. 
A protecting god needs a proper name, for the pro- 
tecting god is a person; he becomes identified with 
those whom he protects. Israel had in their religious 
vocabulary but one proper name for God. The name 
of lahvoh which the ancient nomads had brought back 



■■■ Qaintns-Curtius, V., ii., 7; numerous moder 
particularly tbo French expedition to Egypt, 
\ Eiodua, ch. xsxiii., v. fl. 



t4> mSTOSF OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

from Padan-Aram, or Ur-C'asdira, was not, like El or 
Elohim, a generic name ; it was an undeclinable, in- 
flexible name, analogoiis to the Camos of the Moabitca. 
By a process of ideas which, it is impossible now to 
follow out, the protecting god of Israel was called 
, lahveh • Each step towards the ftirraation of the 
national idea waa, it will bo Been, accompanied by a 
degradation in the theology of Israel. The national 
idea was m favour of a god who would think only of 
the nation, who in the interests of the nation would 
be cruel, unjust, and hostile to the whole human race, 
lahv^ism commenced, to all intents and purposes, the 
day that Israel became egotistical as a national prin- 
ciple; and it grew with the nation, becoming an ob- 
literation of the sublime and true idea of the primitive 
Elohism. Fortunately there was in the genius of Israel 
something superior to national prejudices. The old 
Elohism was never to die ; it was to survive lahveism, 
or rather to assimilate it. The wart was to bo extir- 
pated. The prophets, and especially Jesus, the last of 
thorn, will expel lahveh,"!" the exclusive god of Israel, 

'' lahveli appears as the imlitary protoctor of Israel immediately 
after their comiug out of Egypt. It is true tbat such a, conception 
may have been rotroapectivc. In the fragment which faae been pre- 
eervcd of the song to celebrate the capture of Heshbon, the victory 
of Israel ia not attributed to lahvch. It no doubt was in the com- 
pli'to song, innsmuch as Moab is called ui it " the people of 
Chemosb." (Nunihors, xxi., v. 29.) 

i This is tbo Jeep-rooted idea of the Gnostics ; bat they falsified 
it by shutting their eyes to the fact that all this occurred within the 
limits of Judaism. The German anti-Semitea of our day are guilty 
of the aame historical injugtice. 



■ OF PHARAN. 



and revert to the noble patriarchal formula of one 
good and just father for the universe and the human 
race. 

Tlio tmnsition from idealism to nationalism is never 
effected with impunity, Israel was not the only people 
to whom the adoption of a protecting t^od brought 
decadency ; and Israel, at all events, had the courage 
to try and counteract the effects of their error. 13y 
a scries of efforts long sustained they succeeded in 
returning to the truth, and establishing, in place of 
the idea of the national god, the universal idea of the 
Elion or of the Saddaii of tho patriarchs. El was just 
towards men, though his justice was enveloped in 
mystery. lahvch is not just, being monstrously par- 
tial towards Israel and cruelly severe iipon other 
peoples. He loved Israel and hated the rest of the 
world. He slew, lied, deceived, and robbed all for 
the benefit of Israel. And what good reasons were 
there for believing that it was this particular god who 
had made heaven and earth ? All this constituted a 
tissue of contradictions which tho genius of the pro- 
phets gradually overcame. The work of the prophets 
consisted in re-creating, by reflection, the ancient 
Elohism, in forcibly identifying lahveh with El-Elion, 
and in rectifying the twist which the adoption of a 
particular god had given to the religious direction of 
Israel. 

A special god, being, in fact, the gi-aveet of all 
philosophical errors, becomes a source of constant 
deviations for the people who give themselves over to 



ISO HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

one. Just in proportion as El had given good advice 
to the ancient patriarchs and had inspired them with 
an elevated notion of life, so did lahveh pervert Israel, 
rendering them cruel, iniquitous, bloodthirsty, and 
treacherous Tvhere their own interests were concerned. 
Ezekiel * asserts that lahveh, wishing to chastise his 
people, commanded them at one time to sacrifice their 
children, so that they might be punished with their 
own hands. Assuredly lahveh, at this remote age, 
did not differ very much from Moloch. The good of 
the nation whom he protected was the supreme good ; 
all the rest being as nothing in comparison. The 
world existed for Israel's sake. lahveh was a national, 
that is to say a very jealous god. 

If the religion of Israel had not gone beyond this 
phase, it is assuredly the last religion to which the 
world would have rallied. It might as well have 
adopted that of Camos. But, in spite of appearances, 
elohism retained its inward vitality, and was to 
prevail again, until lahveh had lost all special charac- 
teristics and his very name had been succeeded by an 
equivalent of Elohim, the harmless Adonai, "the 
Lord." To declare that a name is unpronounceable is 
very much the same as to eliminate this name alto- 
gether. As a matter of fact, the usage which became 
prevalent in the centuries immediately preceding the 
Christian era marked the close of the struggle 
between lahveh and Elohim, or rather was tantamount 
to an admission that lahveh no longer existed. The 

* Ezekiel, ch. xx., v. 25 and following. 



ISRAEL IN THE DESERT OF PHARAN. 151 

Greek and Christian translators almost ignore the 
word lahvelu Kvpio9j the equivalent of Adonai, has 
more or less supplanted the old divine proper name. 
If the Alexandrian translators had adopted the tran- 
scription Ieva9y that would have been a tremendous 
obstacle to the monotheistic propaganda ; people would 
have said that this was another Jupiter, and that it 
was not worth while to make any change. 

What the worship of a national god may lead to is 
not monotheism, but what we in our day call heno- 
theism. The national god is a jealous god, and will 
not hear of any rivalry, so that it becomes necessary 
to abandon all the other gods for him. It is probable 
that in Daibon or Ar-Moab Camos was as exclusive 
as lahveh became in Jerusalem, and that a pious 
Moabite supposed him to be as susceptible as lahveh 
was. It was the same with Melqarth at Tyr, because 
the name of the " King of the town " was an adapta- 
tion of the supreme God to a national past.* The 
habit of repeating upon every occasion, " Our God is 
so great that all the other gods are nothing by com- 
parison with Him," of necessity provoked the retort, 
" Our God is the only god in the world." But the 
intellect of peoples is so sluggish that it took them 
centuries to draw this conclusion. 

The man who is in distress or trouble takes a false 
view in religion ; for he must needs believe that a 

"^ For the analogies between the worship of the Tyrian Melqarth 
and that of the Israelite Jahveh, see Mm, de Phdn, pp. 574, 
675. 



»5* BISTORT OP" THIS PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

God cares for him and will be his avenger. Ha j 
readily beeomea superstitious. Idolatry, reduee4.B 
/'/ during the ancient patriarchal period to the minimum,'! 
compatible with the intellect of unlettered people, had 
acquired a great hold upon them while in Egypt. 
The people elomoured for Mnevis aud Hathor.* It 
is doubtful whether lIos6 was so much opposed to 
this idolatrous worship as was afterwards assorted, 
for we find that a brazen serpent said to have been set 
up by him was in existence until the reign of Heze- 
kiah, who broke it in pieces. This serpent, which 
the people called Neliustan, and to which they 
offered sacrifices, -f was probably an ancient idol of 
lahveh. The serpent was, iu Egypt, not so much a 
god of itself, as a manner of reprt'senting the gods 
j^.(ind goddesses. One of the points which constituted 
the great inferiority of lahvch was this degi-adiiig 
promiscuity with the gods of low degree. There wtis 
never any imago of Saddai, Elion, or Elohim. There 
were images of lahveh. 

At a later date it was asserted that Moses had lifted 
up and placed upon a pole, as a talisman against the 
bite of the serpents, this mysterious NehusiaH.X Both 
versions may be true, for it is not at all impossible 
that Moses may have been, in some ways, one of those 
Borcerers whom Egypt possessed, or who came from the 

* It is remarkable that Hathor holds a very important place in 
the Egyptian insciiptioitB of the pcDinsnla of Sinai. (Ordmmce 
HuTVfy, part i., pp. lliS and following.) 

t Second Book of Kings, eh. xviii.. v. i. 

X NumberB, ch. xxi., v. i — 9. 



J 



ISRAEL IN THE DESERT OF PHARAN. 153 

banks of the Euphrates.* No alterations arc too 
groat to have taken place after the lapse of five or sis 
centuries, when a religious genius as powerful as that 
of the Hebrews is working upon an oral tradition 
which is above all things non-resiatcnt and suscep- 
tible of any degree of transformation. 

The aron, or ark, in the course of these peregrinations, 
became more and more the central piece of the tribes. 
The bearers of the wooden staves which acted as handles 
were probably Leviics. They were highly esteemed, and 
were in a measure the guides and the leaders of the 
nation. They were called Beni-Aron or Aliron,"]" so, 
in accordance with the custom of genealogies, Aron, or 
Abron, became a personage, a guide of the people like 
Moses, and in time the lattcr's brother. This is how 
many savants explain Aaron's being made the head of 
the priesthood and the supposed leader of the so-called 
tribe of Levi. I give tbcii- opinion just to show how, 
in ditBcult matters of this kind, vic^vs may differ, 
without on that account exceeding the bounds of 
possibility. 

Upon reaching the fir.st slopes of Sinai, the Israelites 
ceased to follow the sea. Teering to the east, they 
marched round tlio base of the mountain and struck 
inland as far as the place called Eephidim.J It is 
almost the only spot in the peninsula whore nature 

* Balaam. 

t XyM* for pS would bo an nnciont way of eiielling, PjOin', 

] Now called FeiiAn. It is the ^apny of the ancients. 




i5f mSTORY OB THE PEOPLE OFISRAE 

deigns to smile.* There are a few palm-lreos and a 
little water, but the name of these pools is charac- 
teristic, for they were called the waters of Meriba, 
that is " of strife," ou account of the incessant fighta 
which took place there between the Bedouins when 
they came to let their flocks drink of thcra. 

It was, too, at this spot that the Israelites appear to 
have had to fight their first battle with the hordes 
who were seeking, like them, to eke out a bare exist- 
ence in these regions. The Anialckitcs, closely related 
to the Edomitcs, and consequently very nearly con- 
nected with the Jacobite group, fell upon them while 
they were at rest under the palm-trees of the oasis. 
The Israelites got the upper hand, and this fact, 
followed no doubt by many others of a like kind,t 
was the origin of a terrible feud between Israel and 
Amalek. Israel swore that they would not cease their 
warfare against the Amalekiteg until they had exter- 
minated them,J and they kept their word. 

"With the battle of Ecphidira commence, in all 
probability, the borrowings of the compilers of Sacred 
History from the ancient book of the Wars of lahveh.^ 

* Uepliiitm means tbo " place of repose. " The site of tlio con- 
vent of St, Catherine is much better, but the Israelites do not 
appear to have gone in this direction. 

I The Jehorist narrator eccms to have magnifieil into a mirnca- 
louB victory several stones of skiitDtsbes and captures of fugitives. 
(DenteroDomy, ch, xsv,, v, 17 and following; First Book of 
Samuel, ch. sv., v. 2.) 

J Exodus, cb. ivii., v. 8— IG. 

§ I shall endeavour to show, in vol. ii., thnt the first com- 
pilation of a Sacred History, conEtituting the Iramevork of the 



I 

p 



ISRAEL IN THE DESERT OF PHARAN. 155 

At this battle there appears for the first time a com- 
panion of Mos<?, upon whom devolved more especially 
the military part. This was Hosea or losua (the con- 
queror), known under the name of Joshua. The bias of 
the pious compilers is so visible in all theso narratives 
that the name of Joshua, like that of Moses, can only be 
used in a historical mrrative with the utmost precau- 
tion.* Calebjf one of the most highly extolled heroes 
of the book of the Wars of lahveh, may have only 
existed in the imagination of the collectors of popular 
songs ■fl'ho were responsible for the epic souvenirs of 
the nation. It was the same with Ilur, whoso name 
appears originally to have designated a sub-tribe in the 
south of Judah, in relation with the Calebites.J 

The sojourn at Ecphidim may have lasted some 
time. Three months had elapsed since the coming 

present Hcxateiicb, took plnco about 600 n.c, bnt that this eom- 
pilation wne made from still curlier books, the Iiisar, tLa book of 
tbe Wars nf Inhveh, tbe book of the patriarchal legends, which may 
be asBigaed the fipproximate date of 900 B.C. 

* By reasoDiDg of this kind, it is urged, it would be possible to 
prove that Napoleon never existed. The two things do not run on 
parallel linea. The first Bourcea of Ibo history of MoBes and 
Joshua are nearly COO ycnra posterior to Moses end Joshua, 
Handwriting was not known in Israel nulil three or four hundi 
years after Iho time of Mosca and Joshua. The ages which do nol 
possess handwriting transmit only fables. 

+ Thia name ia more Canaauito than Hebrew. Corpia ii 
iemit., part i., Nos. 29, 62. See above, pp. 69, 90, and below, 
205, 20G. 

I Exodus, eb. rvil., v. 10 ; ch. xiiv,, v. 14 ; First Book 
Chronicles, ch. ii., v. 19 and following, 60 and following ; ch. 
V. 1, 4. 

TOL. r. N 



156 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

out of Egypt,* when the Beni-Israel raised their camp 
and penetrated into the rocky gorges which lead to the 
Wadi, and which were designated by the generic name 
of Horeb.f This was what was called " the desert of 
Sinai," an austere and imposing region, for which the 
genius of Israel was to secure the first rank among 
the holy places of humanity. 

* Exodus, ch, xix., v. 1. 

t Exodas, cb. iii., v. 1. ; ch. xvii., v. 6 ; ch. xxxiii., v. 6. 



CHAPTEE XIV. 



The mountaiu of Sinai, formed of dark granite, which 
the Bun, gilding every object upon which it shines, 
has hathetl for centuries without penetrating, is one of 
the most singular phcuomcnii on the surface of the 
glohc* It is the exact likeness of those landscapes of a 
world without water, such as one imagines the moon, or 
any other celestial body devoid of atmosphere, to be. It 
is not that frequent and teiTible storms do not gather 
round its summit. But the storm, in other places 
beneficent, is here merely terrible, a kind of inorganic 
phenomenon, in a manner metallic, a concert entirely 
composed of the sound of the cannon, the drum, tho 
trumpet, and the bell. Its summits must be inhabited 
by severe gods ; it is Olympus less its woods and its 
forests, Iceland or Jean Mayen less the snow. Of all that 
constitutes nature — sun, clouds, water, trees, verdure, 
man, beast — there is nothing here but stone, seamed 
by lodes of metal, sometimes condensed into spark- 
ling gems, always resisting life and stifling it all 
around. Copper, turquoises, all the residues of a kind 
of natural vitrifaction, these are the products of Sinai. 

* Ordnance Sureeij, part i., p. 28. 
N 2 



138 HISTORV OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

The Thora, also, is said to have come from there, baftij 
never life. If one excepts the little oasis of the con>d 
vent of St. Catherine, placed beyond the parts seen byfl 
the Hebrews, the barrenness is nbsolute ; this unnatiirala 
country yields neither fruit, nor com, nor a drop of 
water. On the other hand, nowhere is the light so in-^ 
tense, the air so transparent, the snow so dazzling;! 
The silence of these solitudes is appalling ; a whispefrj 
awakens curious echoes, the traveller is alarmed by t 
sound of his own footsteps.* It is indeed the moun.-. 
tain of the Elohim,-f with their indistinct outlines, thcirJ 
deceptive transparencies, their strange reficetions. 

Sinai is, in a way, the mountain of Egypt. EgyptJ 
properly speaking has no mountains. J "WTiat i 
eallcd the Arabian or Libyan chains are merely moun.--; 
tains in appearance ; their uniform heights have naJ 
reverse ; they are banks formed by the hollow of aal 
enormous valley. The shores of the Red Sea, whicli ' 
runs like a canal through the desert, resemble each 
other. Sinai is therefore throughout the region of 
Sahara an unique object, an isolated accident, a throne, 
a pedestal for something divine. Egypt, shut up in 
its valley and caring nothing for the aspect of the 
country, paid little attention to it; but it was other- 
wise with the nomad tribes in the neighbourhood. 
Horeb, or Sinai, from the most remote antiquity, 
was the object of religious worship on the part 

" OrJrtance SiiriPy, part i., p, 80. 

t CnbHrl in- Exodus, cb. iii., v. 1. 

X One must except the Djcbcl-Ataka ncd its cbam, raDuiug to 
the monaBtery of St. Paul, forming, as it were, small Sisais. 



SINAT. 159 

of the people of Hebrew or of Arab origin who roamed 
about those parts.* They made pilgrimages there, f 
The Somites of Egypt went there frequently to offer 
up sacrifices.^ They believed that their god resided 
there. The holy mountain spread terror a long way 
around it. It was called jmr excellence "the moun- 
tain of Elohim," or " the mountain of God."§ It was 
admitted that the Elohim resided on its summits,!] 
snowy or shining, limpid as crystal or gloomy and 
enveloped with a terrible covering of mist. Up to 
the first centuries of our era the tribes from the 
north of Arabia made pilgrimages to Fciran and 
Serbal. The names of the pilgrims written in hun- 
dreds on the rocks of the valley leading there, boar 
witness to the persistency with which the worship 
attached to these rocks was carried on for centuries.^ 
The worship of mountains is one of tho most ancient 
among the Semitic races.** Tabor, Casius, Horan, 
Hermon, and Lebanon had their worship and their 

* Exodns, ch. iii., v. 1 and followiog. 

t Exodas, ch. iii., v. 18. 

; Exodas, ab. iii., v. 18. 

§ Eiodua, ch. iii., v. 1 ; ch. iv., v. 27; ch. iviii., v, 5; oh. 
xiiv., V. 13; Firat Book of Kings, ch. xix., V. 8; Numbers, ch, x., 
V. 38; Pgalm xxxvi., v. 7 ; Iviii., v. 16 and following. 

II Note expreaBion cnbsn TM nbr nu?a- Exodus, ch. xis,, v. 
S, " Moaea went up into the Elohim." 

7 Inacriptions called Sinailic. See the dissertation of Tuch, in 
the Zfitschrijt <Ur d, m. O., 1849, pp. 129 and following ; that 
of Lei-y of fireslan, same collection, 1860, pp. 863 and following, 
594 and following There are among Ibe pilgrims Christians, Jews, 
and pagans. Journal asiiit., Janaarj', February, and March, 1859. 

*♦ Bandisain, Sttulim mm aemit. Jiel., u,, pp. 232 and following. 



i6o HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

god.* Sinai had its god, who had tho greatest poe-"^ 
sible affinity with lightning. The summits where suoh 
terrible storms were brewed appeared to be the dwell- 
iug-plwcc of a fiery deity with the feathers of an eagle 
or a hawk,t riding on the wings of tlie wind, with 
angels for messengers and his ministers a Oaniing fire, J 
The Arafel, the dark eloud, was his veil. He rent it^ 
to show himself in lightning. A god of flame resided J 
there. What is very striking is that in the five i 
six really ancient paragraphs which n-e have coii»l 
eerning tho life of Moscsj the future chief of Isra* 
exiled among the Midiauitcs and keeping the sheep ( 
his father-in-law Jethro, he visits "Uorcb, the mou 
tain of God," and sees there the vision of a bui 
which burns without being consumed. § 

The god of Sinai was, at all events, redoubtable ' 
and was not to be disturbed with impunity in his 
retreat. When you met him in the gorges of his 
mountain he endeavoured to kill you. Such appears 
at least to bo the explanation of the following curious 
episode. We must be satisfied witli translating it, 
for we cannot fathom its real meaning. "And it 

* Baal-Hcrmon, Baal Lebanon, Baal-Uoraa, Dcus Carmelus, the 
name of Cumodore, See Corpiit inser. saiiil., part i., p. 26. 

t EsoduB, ch. xix., v. 14. See the curious coin in the British 
MuBeom, a littlo anterior to Alexander, representing a god of light- 
ning on a kind of winged velocipede, with the legend m' ; De 
Lu3*nes, Xiimism. ilfg aatrapieH, pi, iv., No, 4; Combe, Vrt. Numi, 
in British Mnscuni, pi." Jtiii., No. 12; Sis, in Xi'mitm. Clironicle, 
1877, p. 229. It is not impossible that a Eatrap of the Jewish or 
Bamaritan countries put the god of tho country on tbeEe coins, 

I Psftlmciv., V. 4. 

g Esodus, ch. iii., v. 1 and following. 



^m^^ 



caino to pass by the way in the inn, that lahveh met 
him ami sought to kill him. Then Zippora* took a 
sharp etone and cut off the foreskin of her son, and 
east it at liis feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband 
art thou to me. Then lahveh let Moses go."t This 
appears to me the counterpart of the struggle between 
Jacob and an angel. When a person passed through 
the ten-itory of a god it ivas not rare for the god to 
attack him in the dark, and he did not escape with- 
out being emasculated, unnerved, or undergoing some 
sanguinary expiation. 

Sinai was therefore above all a mountain of terror. 
Certain spots were considered holy, and one could not 
walk on them without taking oil' one's shoes. J The 
general belief was tliat one could not see the god and 
live. § Even his presence killed. || The common 
people could not approach him.^f His face, a kind of 
distinct hypostasis of himself,** was the head of Me- 
dusa which no living person coidd see. ft Even those 

* The wife of Moses. 

t ExoduB, ch. iv., v. 24— 2C. 

I Exodus, ch. iii., v. 5. 
g Exodus, ch. iii., v. 6, 

II Exodus, ch. xix., r. 12 and following, 21 ; oh. xz., v. 18 and 
following; ch. xzviii., t. 96 ; ch. xxr., t. 21 ; ch. xxxiii., v. 20; 
LeviticQB, ch. xvi., v. 18. Exception: Exodua, oh. xxiv., v. 0^ 
11, which confirms rule. Note Geneeis, ch. xvi., v. IS. 

U ExoduB, ch. xsiv., v. 2 

** Exodus, ch. xxsiii, v. 14. Compare tho ©toO irpiicruiiroi' with 
the bluaiD of tte Pitcenioians. CoDceniing Maleak liihveli sea 
further on. 

tt Legend of Elijah, First Book of Kings, ch. xii., v. 18; 
Isaiab, ch. vi., v. 2. 



10a fflSTORF OFTH. 

who enjoyed the honour of conversing with him faco t 
face expiated that honour by death. It was related tl 
one day, in Ilorcb, Moses wished to see the glory c 
this terrible god. The god took him, placed him in thel 
cleft of a rock, made him stand up, covered him witb ] 
his large open hand, and passed by. Then ho with" I 
di'cw hie hand so that Moses saw his hack parts. Had \ 
Moses seen his faco he would have died.* Elijafa. ] 
afterwards saw the god of Horeb under similar cir- 
cumstances.t To catch a stealthy glimpse of this \ 
hidden god, was the supreme privilege of the elect.! 
Other visions, such as the dazzling nature of the sky,^a 
confirmed the impressions held with regai-d to thol 
top of the mountain. It was related that one day th«f 
elders of Israel ascended the mountain and saw the.'] 
divinity of the place, " and there was under his feet a 
it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it] 
were the body of heaven in his clearaess." 

The god of Sinai, it will be seen, was a god of lights 
ning. His Uteophanies took place in the storm, in than 
midst of the flashing of lightning.^ The ancient lahveh 
had already perhaps possessed some of these charac- 
teristics, lahveh besides was decidedly beginning 
to play the part of the tutelary god of Israel, and was 
replacing the old clohim in the imagination of the 
people. II It was therefore only natural that thoy 

* Exodas, ch. xxxiii., v. 17 — 23 (very olii). 

f First Book of Kiiig9, ch. sis. 

: Exodus, ch, xsiv., v. 1, 2, 9—11. 

§ Exodcta, ch. xix, ; Job, ch. xxxviii., v. 1. 

II The fact of Sinai being colled tba "Mountain of Inhvcli " 



SFNAF. ibi 

should identify lalivch with the God through whose 
lands they were passing and whose terrible influence 
they thought that they felt.* Egypt carried the 
belief in local divinities to the uttermost limit ; each 
district had its special god. Sinai was henceforward 
the basis of all the theology of the Israelites, and it 
was obstinately declared that lahveh appeared there 
for the first time under the form of fire.t 

What really happened when, from the camp of 
Eephidim, the tribe entered the rocky defiles of the 
Horeb ? % Impossible to say. Did there take place, 
in fact, opposite to Sorbal, a religious act, a sort of 
consecration of the people to the god of the mountain, 

does not anthorise the conolasion that laLveli waa primitix'oly the 
name of the god of the mountuin. 

* Exodufl, ct. iii., v. 14 ; ch. vi., v. 3. 

I Exodiis, ch. iii., v. 1 uid following. 

{ The critic who holds that all the storioB n 
Sinai are logenda, can hardly attach a 
researches which have been made in order to localise the Biblical 
miie en scene. The author, writing in Fuleetine, did not have in view 
this or that site in preference to another. It is, however, far more 
natural to connect the Biblical trnditiocs \!ilh Serbal,beyondFeiran, 
than with Djeboj Mousa or Djebcl Kathciiu. This latter region is 
in fact fertile, well watered, and in no way deserves the nntno 
of the " desert of Sinai," by which the place of the theuphanic is 
dosignated. Let me add that Horch and Hiiuii were considered 
synonymous ; now llorih certaioly meant the mountainous region 
which overlooked Rcphidim. Exodus, ch. iii., v. 1; cb. xvii., 
V. C. 

The icBcrtptions of Wadi Mokattub are also a serione indication. 
They show that the immemorial pijgriniase was made to Feiran and 
to the heights which overlook it. Feiran (Repbidim) is, if one 
can Eo express oneself, the religious and historical centre of 



relative to Horcb a 
e to the topographical 



i6t HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

BO that from that day forward the god of Sinai ■> 
the special god of Israel? Did Moses, the chief of 
the people, take advantage uf one of those fearful 
Btoruis so frequent iu the country to make tho people 
believe in a revelation of the "god-lightning" who 
resided on the heights ? Tho manner in which the 
Law was connected with Sinai, towards the nineteenth 
century B.C., had it any foundation in fact ? Or, in 
the four or five hundi'cd years which followed this 
grandiose legend, did it swell like a soap bubble, all 
the more brilliant and coloured because it was empty ? 
Two things only can be perceived. The first is 
that from tho commencement of the Sinaitic epoch it 
became the custom to regard lahveh as appearing in 
the form of a vision of flame.* For clothing he had a 
thick cloud, for voice the thunder. In the storm he 
rode upon the wind and made tho clouds his chariot.'f 
Sometimes ho is represented in an automatic car 
furnished with wings-J A second well -ascertained 
fact, not less remai'kable, is that tho lahveh of the 
Hebrews, when definitely constituted, lived in Sinai,§ 
as Jupiter and the Grecian gods lived in Olympus. 
Ilis dwelling was on the mountain top, especially 
when the summit was hidden from sight by heavy 

■■'■ Geneflis, ch. xv., v. 17 ; Exodus, eb, iii., v, 2; ch. xix., 
V. 18; ch. ixiv., v. 17; Fiisl Book of Kings, cb. sis., v. 12; 
Ezekiel, ch. i., v. 27 ; ch. viii., v. 2. I am led to believe that ia 
Deuteronomy, ch. sssiii., t. 16 (BleEBing of Uoses), one must lead 

t Psalm Kviii., V. 11 ; civ., v. 3, 4. 

t Coin in firitiiih MuBeum (see p. 160). 

g EsoduB, ch. xix., 8, 4 ; cb, xsxiii., v. 21. 



SINAI. 165 

clouds. From thence ho burst forth with horrible 
sounds, lightning, flames of fire, and thunder. The 
fundamental image of the Hebrew religion and poetry 
is the theophany of lahveh appearing like an aurora 
borealis to judge the world.* This apparition always 
came from the south, higher up than Paran and Seir, 
starting from Sinai. Thus in the most ancient piece 
of Hebrew poetry which we possess in a complete 
form — t 

lahveh, when thou wentest out of Seir, 
When thou marches! out of the field of Edom, 
The earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, 
The clouds also dropped water ; 
That Sinai ! .... at the sight of lahveh ; 
At the sight of lahveh, the God of Israel. 

And in another very old piece artificially inserted to 
form the '' Blessing of Moses " — { 

lahveh came from Sinai, 
And rose up from Seir against them ; 
He shined forth from Mount Paran ; 
He comes from Moriboth>Kadesh,§ 
From the south side, the fire shines.|| 



* See descriptions of day of lahveh in all the prophets, beginning 
with Amos, and those of the apparition of the Messiah (the 
parousie) in the synoptic Gospels. 

f The Song of Deborah, Judges, ch. v. Bemark that these 
verses, like those which follow, are anterior to the accounts con- 
tained in Exodus. 

I Deuteionomy, ch. xxziii., v. 2. 

§ Deuteronomy, ch. xxxiii., v. 2 ; one must surely read tt?ip^ 
niS^lDO or tt?."7i5 "^^*TO^. Compare Ezekiel, ch. xlvii., v. 19. 
See Gesen., Thes,, at words ns^"iD and Wlp- The Greek trans- 
lator has read, like us, KaS^s. Compare Psalm xxix., v. 8. The 
meriha or meriboth of Kadesh was a well-known spring. 

II Passage altered by copyist. I suppose one should read TPt^) 



i66 SISTORy OF THE PEOPLE OF ISXAEL. 

And in the original portions of the Psalm " Let Goi 
arise " — * 

God. wlien ihou wontest forth beforo thy peopli', 
Wlien thoa didst march Ihrougb the wilderness, 
Tho eai'tb shook, the heavens also dropped. 
At tho presence of God 

At the presence of God, tho God of Isrncl ; 

and in the Psalm of Eahakkuk^ 

God came from Teman, 

The Holy One came from Mount Faran.l 

Sinai hecame therefore the Olympus of Israel, 
place from whence all the luminous apparitions > 
lahveh issued. It -was only natural that when 
they desired a Thora from lahvch that they made 
him reveal it on Mount Sinni or Mount Horeb, At 
this remote epoch, that is to say when Israel went up 
to tho mountain of God, did the people think that they 
heard some lesson ? Did Moses take advantage of the 
circumstance to inculcate certain precepts ? The little 
influence exercised hy those precepts iu the daily life of 
Israel, during the six or seven hundred years which 
followed, favours the belief that they never existed. 
It appears probable at least that the people left tlio 
holy mountain filled with terror and persuaded that 
a powerful god inhabited its peaks. There were no 

" Ou the south side." Compare First Book of Samael, ch. xiiit., 
V. 19. Perhaps tho roul text of our passage ia ]Hi>t£?'n T>»'a. 
* Psalm Ixviii,, v. 6, 9. At verso 18 read ■"i'DD S3 '•31H- 
t Habakkuk, cb. iii,, t. S; Psalm Ixxvii., v. 17, i:e., passage 
which appears imitated from Habakkuk. 



SINAI. 



167 



doubt sacrifices offered and altars erected.* There 
was, above all, a startling recollection. The people had 
really scon the god of the holy mountain. This vision, 
like a 0ash of lightning, had blinded them. Deep in 
their iuflamed retinas there remained a kind of aurora 
borealis M"hosc vision they could not shake off. Kot 
one of the old Hebrew poems but commenced with 
this persistent impression. The chief imago which 
dominated the religious feeling of Israel was the 
apparition of Sinai. 

Primitive man has always lodged hia gods in the 
mountains of eternal snow. Those untrodden heights 
left a great latitude for mystery. People could well 
imagine that the muses (kind of fairies) inhabited 
Parnassus, that Jupiter held his court upon Olympus, 
before the summits of those mountains had been cx- 
plored.t But directly tho ascent was made it was 
clearly seen that the immortals were not there. 

lahveh, like the other gods, lived in the highest 
mountain of the region consecrated to his worship. 
Sinai was marvellously adapted to play the part of a 
divine mountain for the tribes roaming to the west of 
Egypt, in the north of Arabia, and in the south of 
Palestine. In middle Palestine the volcanic moun- 
tains of Iloran, whoso appearance is so striking, might 
have been selected. In fact the poet supposes the 



* ExctluB. ch. xvii., v. 15. 10. 

+ The people of antiquity and of the Midille Ages had not the 
eame taste fur aGcending monntniDs kb people of modern times. 
Tho fiiEt BEcent of Mont Bknc took place in 17S8. 



i6l BISTORT OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

mountains of Horan to hare teen jealous of the prefer^^ 
enee shown by lahveh for the little hill of Sion.* In'^J 
the north part of Palestine it was certainly Hermon' \_ 
which would have been chosen. That superb isolated^! 
cone, always coTorcd with snow, the highest in Syriaj'T 
seemed expressly made for the residence of the god of the 
region. The fact that the god of Israel had his dwell- 
ing in Sinai, a mountain so tar from the ken of Pales- 
tine, is the best proof of the religious importanewJ 
which the children of Israel attached to that moun-"J 
tain. For the seers and tlie poets the aurora of thaj 
divine apparition came always from " the south." 
lahveh was not, as may be supposed, the special god4 
of Sinai, it is at all events at Sinai that must bo placedu 
the intermediary station where he became the special 
>,\^god of Israel. This was a terrible fall; the old bsoB'I 
of the Chaldeans, the master of life, descended to tha>| 
inferior part of protector of a little nation. But thisl 
nation was Israel, and what Israel adopted had the good J 
fortune of being adopted by humanity. In tliis sensed 
lahveh really appeared in Sinai, and the ancient'l 
Hebrew poet was right in saying — 

lahveh cnme from Sicfli, 

III) rose up from Scir, 

Ho shined forth from Monnt Paran.f 

The adoption of lahveli which appears to have beei 
consummated at the Sinaitic epoch,f was it regardeu 

* Psalm Ixviii., v. IC. 

i DeuteroEomy, ch. :ixsiti., v. 2. 

X The Jcho™t account of the battle of Repbidim (Exodu^ 



as a conversion, as something as marked as were aftor- 
"wards the construction of the temple, the reform of 
Ezekiah, and especially the fanatical organisation of 
Josiah ? This must be accepted with great caution. 
One of the signs of the complete nationalisation of a god 
is the introduction of his name into the proper names 
of men. Now the name of lahvch, cither as initial 
component i^Icho or lo) or as final component (lah), 
seldom appears in proper names before the day of 
Samuel and of Saul.* More than that : a great number 
of Israelites at the time of the Judges and of David 
bore names into which entered the component Baal,')' 
such as Jiu-ebaal, Meribaal, Ishbaal, Baaliada. % This 
name of Baal, the equivalent of Adonai, but in great 
favour among the Phoenicians, was not considered 
improper or idolatrous until the days of the prophets 
of the school of Elijah. Up to that time a broad 

ch. xvii., T. 15, IG). peema to have been borrowed from tho Wars 
of Inhvck, which, written ia the ninth or tenth century, may have 
exaggerated the Jehoviat character of those ncconnts. 

• Appai-ent exception ; Jokebed, mother of Mosob (nnme no 
donbt fiibriciited aflerwards ; the came of labveh is not found in 
tho name of any iromnn of really ancient times ; Athalia ia a 
fomiaino adjective). It is not at all sure that the name of Joshurt 
includes the name of lahveh, and then tho personage is quite 
legendary. Joel and Abiah, names of the sons of Samuel, are 
doubtful. As regards Joas and Jotham, father and sou of Gideon, 
see below {p. 260). 'With regard to Micah or Michaihoa, see below 
<p. 285). 

I Afterwards bo»et (shame) was suhatitoted for baal, or else E! 
was put in the place of Baa!. A great number of pagan names 
have been thus obliterated. 

{ Other examples : Geseiiius, The$„ pp., 229, 2S0. 



170 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

eclecticism had been the religious rule of Israel. It is 
remarkable that the names formed of the components 
Milik or Baal are to bo found particularly in the 
families of Gideon, of Saul, and of David,* or among 
their followers. 

••'= Gescnius, already qnotod. 



d 



X\ 



CHAPTER XV. 



JOURNEYING TOWARDS CANAAN. 



It is strange that once among the mountains of Sinai, 
in the (lii-cction of the Serbal of to-day, the children 
of Israel did not push on a little to the south-west. 
There they would have found higher peaks than those of 
Serbal, and, in the valley between those lofty summits, 
an oasis which would certainly have appeared to them 
like the Paradise of God ; we mean the upper vaRey 
in which is now situated the convent of St. Catherine. 
It is probable that this lovely spot was occupied by a 
stronger tribe ; for, after a visit to the "desert of 
Sinai," the people of Israel retiirned to the " desert of 
Paran," • and, after twenty days' journey, arrived at 
the extremity of the Elanitic gulf, at Asion-Gaber. 
This was a Midianite emporiura.t Fearing to sojourn 
in towns, like all noniud tribes, the Beni-Israel 
avoided entering that place. 

The route of Israel appears to have been up to 
that time very uncertain. It is probable that if the 
fugitives had encountered some fruitful land on their 
way they would have halted. On arriving at Asiou- 

* Kumbera, ch. sii., v. IG. 
t Deuteronomj', cb. li., v. 8. 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF TSRAEL. 



Gaber they bad Arabia before fbem, a not 
enviable land, peopled besides, as far as it could be, by 
Ishmaelites and Ketureans. It is probable that the 
idea occurred to them at this inorarnt of returning 
to Canaan, the dwelling place of their ancestors, no 
longer as foreigners who were tolerated, but as lawful 
owners. Gratitude is not a national virtue. The 
kindness of the Hivites and the Iliftites towards their 
fathers was forgotten. It was perhaps at this time 
that thf y circulated the pretended oracles of the God 
of Bethel, local divinity of Palestine, or of lahveh, 
■who had promised the aneostora of tlie nation to give 
them this land. Each conntiy belonged to a god who 
bestowed it on whom he wished. If the god of IJcthel 
had really promised the land of Canaan to Beni- Israel, 
that was decisive. The people must have hud pre- 
conceived ideas on this subject; for, belwcen tho 
desert where they wandered and the land of Canaan, 
there were populations established, Edoni and Jloub, 
over whose territory they would bo obligctl to pass 
in order to reach Canaan, and who, according to all 
appearances, would be little friendly towards brothei-s 
from whom they wero separated by centuries and 
diiferent adventures. 

What leads one to believe that this idea occurred to 
the Israelites when they had aiTivcd near Asiou-Gaber 
is that their route was no longer capricious. Canaan 
was clearly their objective. The shortest road was 
to reach Canaan by Negcb, that is to say by the 
south. In fact, from Asion-Gaber the Israelites went 



JOURNEYING TOWARDS CANAAN 



^Ti 



to Kades-Barnea, the last place where their aueeators 
had halted before entering Egypt. This must have 
been the most trying part of theii- journey. They 
retained no recollection of any intermediary halt- 
ing-place between Asion-Gaber and Kades-Barnea, 
because in fact along this terrible road, devoid 
of all the necessaries of life, there was no resting- 
place. 

Kades-Bamea had a fine spring called " the Spring 
of Judgment," perhaps beeauso people consulted it 
for the purpose of obtaining certain oracles or judg- 
ments of God.* Kades was on the border of Edom, 
but it was a sort of common halting-place, and not an 
Edomite town. It was there, it appears, that the 
elders formed precise plans for the conquest of 
Canaan.f It was there above all that they opened 
negotiations with Edom. The Edomites had already 
organised a kingdom. The Israelites wished to pass 
through their territory on the footing of perfect 
neutrality. The Edomites refused.J The situation 
became critical. The Araalekites threatened theu- 
rear.§ The Canaanites, finding their position me- 
naced, prepared to defend themselves. Arad,[| the 
Eiing of Canaan, who appears to have been at that 



* Gesenius, at words, ujlp and n^'^na. 

t The detaiU whicli follow appear historical, and were probably 
borrowed from tbe book of \Vur» tij hihxeh. Judges, ch. is. 

\ Numbers, ch. xx., v. 11 and following. 

§ Numbera, cli. liv., v. 89 and following. 

II Numbera, ch. xxi,, t. 1 and following ; ch. sxiii., v. 40 
(characteristic omiasion). 



17* BISTORT OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, 

time the most powerful monarcli in those countries, 
attacked the Israelites and made some of tliem 
prisoners. The King of Seiat inflicted a terrible 
reverse upon them, in consequence of which they made 
a T0T7 to lahveh to exterminate that city and all 
the surrounding villages of the Canaanites. * 

Finding it impossible to pass from the south to the 
north of Edom, the Isi-aelitea determined to turn the 
country, and, passing to the south of the Dead Sea, 
to reach the country of Moab. Tho route which they 
pursued from Kados to tho frontier of Moab is very 
uncertain. It appears that the Israelites turned off 
sharp to the east, crossed the "Wadi Arabah, wandered 
to the east of the Arabah, in countries but little 
known, and approached the country of Moab by its 
eastern frontier, at a place named lyyc ka-Abarim, 
"the ruins of Abarim." Aharim was the name of 
the mountains or rather the lofty tableland which 
forms the eastern bank of the Dead Sea. The lyyim 
of the Aharim were perhaps the lesser chains of the 
Abarim on the desert side.j" 

What, under these circumstances, were the relations 
between Israel and their Moabite brethren ? Probably 
similar to the relations which had existed between 
Israel and their Edomite brethreu.J Distrust was 
the ruling passion of this people, fuU of hatred and 

* Numbers, ch. kiv., v. 45; ch. isi,, v. 1 — 3; Dentcrouomy, 
ch. i., V. 44 ; Judges, ch. i., t. 17. 

t Numbers, cb. xxi., v. 10. Tbere was a place called hjijim in 
Jndab. 

\ Nnmbers, oh. xr., v. 14. Compare Judges, cb. ix. 



io^ 






JOURNEYING TOWARDS CANAAN. 17s 

coveteousnesa. It seemfl, in fact, that the Israelites 
avoided passing through the laud of Moab.* From 
lyye ha-Abarim they went and pitched their camps in 
the ravine of Zared. Thence, instead of entering into 
Moab, they went by way of the desert. At Beer, the 
discovery of a spring, by means of a divining rod, 
gave rise to the following song, which one must 
suppose to have been sung in ehorus-t 

Spring np, well ; sing yo unto it. I'ke princes digged the 
well, ttie nobles of the people digged it 

This song afterwards became the origin of miracu- 
lous stories. It was pretended that Moses caused the 
water to flow by striking the rock with hia wand. 

The people afterwards encamped in the ravine of 
the upper bed of the Aron, which they called Nahaliel, 
" the ravine of God," Here the situation became more 
serious. They were on the frontier of Moab, of Aramon, 
and of the country occupied by the Cauaanites. Ammon 
was too strong for them to dream of attacking it.J 
Israel professed friendly feelings towards Moab at that 
moment. It was therefore decided to attack the Canaan- 
ites, and an ai-med body rushed boldly on Bamoth 
and on Daibon, which seem to have been carried with- 
out resistance. 

On debouching from Nahaliel the Israelites left the 
desert, the land of nomads, for countries more regularly 

* The list of halting-plnces in Nambors, ch. xxiiii., is in contra- 
diction with that of Numbers, cb. xiti. 

t Numbers, ch. xxi., v. 15. Borrowed from Wun nf lahveh. 
% Nombers, ch. xxi., v. 24. 



k 



176 HISTORr OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

inhabited. Here we see them entered into that lana| 
the object of their aspiration3, which they were going 
to appropriate by violence, but whose conciuest they 
legitimised, because they were about to make of a 
moderately favoured district perhaps the most cele- 
brated spot on the surfece of our planet, the holy land 
par excellence, the land the most loved, the most 
regretted that ever existed. 

How long was it since they had left Egypt? Per- 
haps only a very short time. "We may willingly sup- 
pose a year or eighteen months. It was a passage, not 
a sojourn. But never was a journey more fruitful. 
Each impression of those months of crises was rich ia 
consequences for the future. Judaism was destined 
entirely, some centuries later, to found itself on the 
legends relating to the flight from Egypt to the desert 
and to Sinai. 

"Worship during this period must have returned to 
patriarchal simplicity. In remarkable places altars or 
pillars were raised, which were called iad (finger post), 
or nis (rallying post).* The ark, a sacred piece of 
furniture of Egyptian origin, assumed importance. 
They shut up in it everything of general interest ; it 
formed, so to speak, the portable archives of the nation. 
According to conceptions which obtained at least to the 
ninth century, the ark at some distance went before 
the people while they wore going from one camp to 
another. According to the same traditions, when the 
ark set forward they cried, "Eise up. Lord, and let 
* Exodas, cb, xvii., t. 15, 16. 



JOURNEYING TOWARDS CANAANT 177 

thine enemies be scattered." And, on the contrary, 
when it rested, "Eetum, O Lord, unto the ninny 
thousands of Israel." 

"We possess, in fact, a religious song of which this 
crj- forms as it were the principal note.* It is the most 
singular composition in Hebrew literature. We seem 
to hear the distant echo of the triumphal peregrina- 
tions of the travelling deity across the desert."!" In it 
Sinai figui'es as the place of the highest theophany, 
not as the place where the Thora was given. The 
extreme obscurity of the style of this dithyi-ambic is a 
sign of its antiquity, although certainly more modem 
sentiments penetrate hero and there. It would not be 
surprising if we liad here a specimen altered, or rather 
adapted to the liturgic forma J of some of the canticles 
of the Wars of lahveh, or ai Jamr.^ The old collec- 
tion opened, in fact, with canticles descriptiTo of the 
approach to the land of Canaan and of the last marches 
in the desert. 

The probability is that where a halt was made the 
Ark was placed outside the camp under a tent. This 
was what they called ofiel inoed, the tent of meeting, or 
ohel edouih, the tent of the covenant. Perhaps they 



* Psalm Isviii. 

t Especially v. 1—26. 

t This song may liavo served for tho inauguralion of the 
temple (v. 16, 25 — 26). The iJiHsnge v. 18 ougLt surely 
to bo corrected bNT^IC 'STN D\n2~', according to Numbers, 
ch. X., V. 86. 



§ Especially the rassago v. 12 — 15 
the Mncidat airim. 



i full of the epic spirit of 



178 

already went there for judgments, divine oracles, t 
to take oaths. God was supposed to be there in 
person. They believed that a cloud descended, re- 
mained at the entrance, and conversed with the leaders.* <■ 
More communicative than that of Sinai this Gw 
allowed them to approach him ; they spoke with hiai»^ 
The God of Israel became human; he made himself 
the companion of men, more especially the companion 
of the poor and needy. f The labernaculum Dei canj 
hominibus existed from that moment. 

But this was only a germ. The institutions had stil 
Bomcthing undefined about them. The barbarism ■^ 
extreme; there was nothing civilising nor moralisiogl 
in the teaching of the Lo-ites. The Israelites did notrl 
employ writing. What took place among them,! 
although already exceedingly remarkable, did not diffei 
much from the domestic life, so original, of the oth^ 
Terachite, Ishmaelitc, and Keturean tribes, whicl 
spread over the southern confines of Syria. TheirJ 
philosophy wavered between two conti-adictory asser- 
tions, " God is eternal ; man lives four days ; Got 
governs the world with justice and omnipotence;! 
and yet there is injustice everywhere. Man is au-j 
dacious to complain ; and yet he has a 'right to com.<J 
plain." The patriarchal 'era was drawing to a close jl 
nations were beginning ; human society was losingj 
its nobility and its goodness ; it demanded broader ■ 
limits. 

* Eiodue, ch. xxxiii, v. 7 — 11. 
t Psaim Ixviii., v. 6, 7. 



BOOK II. 



THE BENI-ISEJEL JS FIXED TIHBES FROM THE 
OCCUPATION OF THE COUSTRT OF CANAAN 
TO TBE IlEFimTIFE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE 
KINGDOM OF DAVID. 



I 



THE BENI-ISBAEL BETONB TBE DEAD SEA AND THE 

JORDAN. 

When the tribes of Israel appeared on the heights 
above the wells of Nahaliel (towards 1350 b.c.) the 
country beyond the Dead Sea had just been the theatre 
of memorable events.* The Canaanite section of the 
' Amorites, who appear to have come] from Hebron and 
Hasason-Tamar (afterwards called Engaddi), had as- 
sumed, in becoming the centre of a confederation of 
tribes previously [^known under other names, a very 
considerable position. Enclosed up to that time, on 
the east, by the Jordan and the Dead Sea, the Amorites 
had overflowed eastward, and had formed two trans- 
Jordan kingdoms : the kingdom of Basan (Batani!e), 
whose capital was Asfaroth-Carnaim, and a kingdom 
further south, bounded on the north by the labbok, on 
the south by the Arnon, and whose capital was Ileshbon. 
* NambcrB, ch. xxi. ; Jadgea, oh. zi., t. 18 and fi 



i8o HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

Hesbbon and all the country to the north of the k 
had up to that time bulougcd to the kingdom of 3 
which thus lost, hy the Araoritc invasion, all the 
southern portion of its teiritory. This was probably 
the cause of the favour ■with which the Moabitcs 
received Israel when it made its appearance in the 
regions of Abarim. 

Sihon, the founder of the Amorite kingdom of 
Hoshbon, assembled his army to meet the new invaders. 
The battle took place at lahas. The defeat of Sihon 
was complete. The Israelites seized on all the country 
from jirnon to labok. 

Hcshbon fell into their hands. This was the first 
great victory won in the name of labveh. Heshbon 
was a beautiful acropolis in the middle of a fertile and 
well- watered coimtry. The conquest of this important 
place gave rise to a song of which some strophes have 
been presen'ed.* The poet first ofall shows the power 
of Sihon, and relates the defeat of Moab. He supposes 
an appeal made by the conqueror to the neighbouring 
populations to come and rebuild Heahbon. 

Como nato Hesbbon ; let the city of Sihon be batlt and 
prepared. 

Woe to thee, Moab I TLoa art undone, people of Cher- 
moBh; be hath given his sons Ihnt eecaped, and bis dnughtere, 
into cnptivity unto Sihoa, king of the Amoiiles. 



But Israel was stronger than the conquerors of 

Moab. 

* NomberB, ch. xsi., v. 27—30. Taken from the Wan of 
lahveh. 



THE BENI-ISRAEL BEYOND THE DEAD SEA. 



" Wo have shot at them ; 
aod we laid them waste e' 
Medebah." 



is perished even unto Dibon, 
a unto Nophah, which reacheth unto 



The town of Jaazer, which formed part of the city 
of Sihon, fell after Heshbon, and from that time Israel 
was master of the country from Jabbok to the Arnou. 
This was what was called by the generic name of the 
country of Gilead. This conquest, rapidly executed, 
leads one to suppose that the chiefs who planned it 
were endowed with real military talent. According to 
the authors of the Thora, Moses was still alive at this 
epoch, having at his side his lieutenant Joshua. In 
the book of the Wars of Jahve/t, Moses had disappeared 
before the country of Moab was approached. The Song 
of Beer, the whole episode of Baalam supposes his 
absence ; and certainly, if the old text had admitted 
that Moses still existed during the wars between Sihon 
and Og, some mii-aculous intervention would have been 
attributed to him in the battles, as ot Eephidim. 

The destruction of the Amorite kingdom of Bashan 
closely followed the destruction of the Amorite king- 
dom of Heshbon and of Jaazer, Og,' King of Bashan, 
was defeated at Edrei. The rich country which stretches 
from the mountains of Hor to the Lake of Tiberius 
and to the Jordan became the possession of the chil- 
dren of Israel. A powerful family animated with mili- 
tary instincts, that of the Makarites, contributed in a 
great degree to this conquest, and thenceforth settled 

* Og was enveloped in legends (Deuteronomy, ch, iii., v. 2). It 
is possible that when the M'am of hihreh was written the name 
of the last king of Bashan was not known. 




lit HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



in tte plains of Hor. The Makarites formed part e 
the Manassoh branch of the family of Joseph, which 
preserved more than ever its ascendency over the reet 
of Israel. 

These two great wars had given a very advantageous 
position to Beni-Israel. The two kingdoms of Sihon 
and of Og, become their domain, brought them an 
extent of territory over thirty-five leagues in length, 
which amply sufficed for their numbers. It is pro- 
bable, in iiict, that after the conquest of the kingdom 
of Bashan there was a breathing time. The tribes no 
doubt waited, before passing the Jordan, until the fertile 
country they occupied should become too small for 
them. These were years of youth and vigour. The 
centre of Israel at this epoch was what was called 
Arbotk-Moab, " the plains of Moab." This was a plain 
situated on the banks of the Jordan, opposite Jerichc^ 
at the foot of Mount Nebo, and, more strictly speaking, 
the place called Shittim, "the acacias." The ark re- 
mained at this place under a tent, and constituted aa 
it M'ere the vital knot of the nation. 

This apparition of a new force in the little world 
of Palestine, already overcrowded, naturally excited 
the most lively apprehensions on the part of the primi- 
tive settlers. Amnion does not appear to have been 
very much alarmed ; Moab, already so weakened 
by the Amorites, was obliged to confine itself to in- 
trigues. In the oldest historical books is to bo found 
a curious tale on this subject, attributed to Balak, the 
son of Sippor, supposed to be King of Moab. The 



THE BENI'ISRAEL BEYOND THE DEAD SEA. 183 

nahi existed at this epoch among the Semitic races, 
but of a very different character to that which he 
afterwards assumed. He was still the sorcerer, the 
man possessing mysterious secrets, who was in daily 
communication with the elohim. These nahis consti- 
tuted a redoubtable power. Supernatural gifts were 
attributed to them, as also a profound knowledge in 
the art of cursing. Their malediction was supposed to 
operate infallibly and without any aid. Sometimes 
they were called upon to curse certain days which 
were regarded as hateful.* On other occasions they 
were highly paid to curse those whose perdition was 
desired.f It was believed that their curses struck 
home, and these howlers were engaged to pour out 
against the enemy torrents of abuse, supposed to be 
eflGlcacious.J It was almost always by powerful 
parallelisms, by carmina in parabolic style, that these 
magic spells, considered infallible in their effects, were 
expressed.§ 

The most celebrated of these sorcerers at that time 
was, according to the legend, a certain Baalam, the 
son of Beor, who came from a town called Pethor. 
Balak sent for him, gave him large sums of money, 
and made him the most superb promises. He was 
taken to a high place called Bamoth-Baal, near 
Ataroth, in that part of ancient Moab which Israel 
has just conquered. From thence could be seen the 

* Job, ch. iii. 

t Numbers, ch. xxii., v, 7 — 17. 

X See Isaiah, ch. xv. and xvi., the lamentation of Moab. 

§ Numbers, ch. xxii., v. 6. 



t8| mSTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

first encampments of Israel. Now it is related thi 
in spite of all the efforts which Baalam made to 
curse Israel, the words were in his mouth con- 
verted into hlessings. Later on, this episode became 
the foundation for some curious tales. About the time 
of David, the oracles which Balaam was supposed to 
have pronounced were written in the finest rhythm 
of ancient poetry, and with these compositions a sibyl- 
line framework was constructed for the predietiona 
relative to the future of Israel and of other nations,* 

The intimate relationship between Moab and Israel 
prevented any sanguinary war between thcra. It 
was not the same with Midian.f The Midianites had 
not managed to make any fixed conquest. Like the 
Amalekitcs they were everywhere to be found in the 
deserts to the east of the Dead Sea. "We have seen 
them, during the flight from Egypt, entering into 
relations with Moses, through their cohcn Jethro. 
Then wo saw them struggling with the Edomites in 
the land of Moab.} It was this southern branch of 
the Midianites which got into a serious conflict with 

* Tbe epiBodQ of Balanm, in its present fonu (Naoibers, ch. 
xxii., sxiii., xxiv.), is a Jebovist and Elobiat combinatiou, after 
the manner of nncicDt records, that of tbe deluge for example. Tbe 
foundntion is borrowed from tbe Wars of lukeek like wbnt pre- 
cedes it in Nambors, cb, xxi. It wiU be remarked that Mosea is 
not mentioned there, when it was only natural that be sboald bava 
performed bis part. There is nothing authentic in the vxnxil bnt 
the form. From cb, xxiv., v. 20, the interpolations are clear. 

+ Midian ivus only connected to Abraham by tbe alave Cetbura, 
like lahmnel by the slave Hagar. 

X QeuesiB, oh. xxxvi., t. 8li. 



THE BENI-ISRAEL BEYOND THE DEAD SEA. 185 

Israel. The war was a terrible one. The branch of 
Midian engaged in the battle was exterminated with its 
five kings. All the males were put to death ; the women 
and the flocks were carried away captive.* 

These military successes on the part of Israel 
surprise one at first sight. Israel had no warlike 
proclivities during its patriarchal period, nor during 
its sojourn in Egypt. At the epoch of the Judges it 
often exhibited cowardice towards its neighbours. 
Later on, if one excepts the time of Saul and of 
David, the qualities displayed by Israel were not of a 
military order. One is tempted to believe that the 
military superiority shown by this band of fugitives 
in regard to the tribes in the region of Jordan was 
derived from the Egyptians which it counted in its 
ranks, and particularly to Moses, who must be con- 
sidered as almost an Egyptian, whose real part was 
much more, it would appear, that of a chief after the 
fashion of Abd-el-Kader than that of a prophet like 
Mahomet. Their arms may have been better than 
those of the tribes they fought with. Between beir- 
barians, the smallest element of civilisation gives to 
the tribe which possesses it immense advantages over 
the tribes who have nothing but the primitive weapons 
handed down from the past. 

During that long sojourn, intermixed with cam- 
paigns always successful, in a country then rich, there 
was no doubt in the bosom of Israel a powerful work 
of internal organisation going on. A number of 

* Numbers, cb. xxxi. ; Josbua, ch. xiii., v. 21. 



mSTORT OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



families established themselves in a penuanent 
manner.* We have seen how the Manassitc family of 
Makir took the principal part in the conquest of Hor. 
A great portion of it remained in the land it had 
conquered. The lands of Jaazer and Gilead were 
exceedingly good for the rearing of cattle. The 
Eeubenites and the Gadites, who had large flocks, 
appropriated them. The first established themselves 
in the ancient country of Moah situated to the north 
of the Arnon, which the Amorites had taken from 
Moah, and which the Israelites had recaptured from the 
Amorites. The cities of Ataroth, Daibon, Heshbon, 
Eleale, Baal-Meon fell to Reuben. The cities of 
Jaazer, Nimra, and the intersected tableland to the 
east of Jordan fell to Gad. On its left bank the 
valley of the Jordan is narrow. Agriculture could 
not flourish in such a country j it remained always 
essentially pastoral. 

Besides, the ancient race was far from having 
disappeared. The population of Israel was very 
inconsiderable. Shut up in strong cities, it saw it- 
self surrounded by hostile tribesf who wanted only 
a patriotic rallying point. The names of a cer- 
tain number of places were changed and called 
after their new proprietors.^ But they did not 
long endure. The old names were restored. Thus 
Kenath, at the foot of the mountain of lEor, which. 



* NnmberB, ch. xxxii., ^ 
t Numbere, ch, xxiii., v 
i Numbers, ch. xxxii., v 



16 and following, 

17. 

S8, 41, 42. 



THE BENl'ISRAEL BEYOND THE DEAD SEA. 187 

was captured by the Manassite Nobah, was for some 
time called Nobak,''^ then it resumed its ancient 
name Canatha or Canotha, which still exists as 
Kenawat. 

* Judges, ch. viii., v. 11. 



vol. r. 



CHAPTER 11. 

THE CONQUEST OF THE REGION BEYOND JOBDAN. 

In the plain of Shittim the people had under their 
eyes a spectacle which perpetually excited their 
greed. The Jordan alone separated them from a land 
which was even superior to that which they occupied; 
more and more they imagined that this land had been 
promised to them by the God of their fathers. Oppo- 
site to them the important city of Jericho stood 
out like a challenge. These old excitable races 
drew no line between their desire and their duty. The 
Moabite king Mesa made no conquest unless it were 
ordered by his god Camos.* It is probable that 
upon divers occasions the national God, lahveh, 
commanded the Israelites to cross the Jordan by signs 
which were considered as compulsory. 

The land which Israel had in view was a ridge, 
fifty miles broad at its base, separating the Medi- 
terranean from the deep bed in which the Jordan 
flows, and of which the Dead Sea is as it were the 
central basin. The height above the Mediterranean 
is nearly 3,300 feet; the height above the Dead 
Sea and the lower Jordan is 4,000 feet; for there is 

* Inscription, lines 9, 12, 18, 14, 18, 82. 



r 



CONQUEST OF REGION BEYOND JORDAN. i8g 

a deep depression at this spot. The foot of the slopes 
reaches neither to the Mediterranean nor to the Jor- 
dan. Like a continuation of the sands of the Mediter- 
ranean, those plains stretch to the west, and are sua- 
ceptiblo of being richly cultivated (the Saron). On 
the side of Jordan the lesaer mountain chains fall 
away in an abrupt manner to within ten or twelve 
miles from the river, and at theii- foot is formed an 
alluvial plain, which would, one might suppose, be 
a source of wealth to the country. It is not so. 
This plain (Ghor) is unhealthy, and has never played 
a considerable part in the history of the country. 
Israel, on the other hand, showed no tendoiicy to 
approach the bank. The Saron remained 'always 
in the hands of the Cauaanites. It is the hog's 
back stretching between Saron and Ghur, which was 
the theatre of the astonishing history I am now 
writing. 

As the country of Gilead, beyond Jordan, is de- 
signed by nature for a pastoral life, so is Palestine 
on this side of Jordan designed for agriculture and 
living in cities.* One must not look at these matters 
after our European ideas of a deep, black soil, unceas- 
ingly watered and covered witli rich, verdue. These 
ridges, in appearance arid, are rich after their 
fashion. To half-starved people coming from Africa 
they must appear sparkling with wealth. The vine, 
the olive, and the fig-tree prosper there. Corn grows in 
sufficient quantities. There is no want of water. The 

* JoaephuB, B. J., IH., x. 7. 
p2 



igo HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

cold is never excessive, and it rains a great deal in thefl 
winter ; all through the year the altitude at which ono.fl 
lives renders the heat very supportable. No great city J 
could have developed itself on these heights, deprivedl 
of largo waterways ; but an agricultural population, I 
grouped in small towns lying close to each other, couldfl 
find there the essential conditions of material welfar 
without which no human society can accomplish i 
original evolution. 

The Canaanite populations which, as it appearfl,fl 
already occupied the country when the Hebrews j 
there the first time had lost a great deal of thei 
ancient vigour. The Amorites had exhausted theiii'*^ 
selves in concentrating all their forces to the east ( 
Jordan ; the Hittitcs of Debir, of Kiriat-Arba, or Heb-J 
ron, had also lost much of their importance since that 
time when theii' name erroneously represented for thw 
Egyptians the whole of Syria. The victories of RamsesS 
had greatly diminished them. The Hivites lived peace-! 
fully at Gabaon and in the neighbourhood of SichemJ^ 
Little is known of the Perizzites ; it is even a quesfioi 
whether they had any fixed territory. The Girifishitei 
resided obscurely in their city of Gergesa, on thaA 
eastern shore of the Lake of Genesarcth.* The Jebu-a 
sites were much more powerful. Their territory waafl 
Dot large, but their city of Jcbus, or Jeru8alem,t wai 



* See Vie de Jcsut, p. 161, note 1. 
t It may with equal force be urged that this name was giv«n] 
j by David or by the Canaanites. The root slm appears to i 
" place of safety." 



I 



CONQUEST OF REGION BEYOND JORDAN. 191 

considered in those days as an exceediagly strong 
place. 

In the midst of these Canaanites regularly estab- 
lished in the towns, there roamed, as in the times of the 
patriarchs, nomads without any fixed dwelling, such as 
the Amalekites, and other tribes leading a miserable 
existence, like gipsies without hearth or home.* 
People saw survivors of the ancient indigenous 
populations, anterior to the Canaanites i^Emim, ZoJii- 
sommim, Anak/m), in individuals of lofty stature whom 
they believed were to be found at certain particular 
places.f But popular imagination revels in giants ; 
it willingly creates them. These Anakim wore sur- 
rounded by legends ; J they sometimes called them 
re/aim (the dead, the giants, the phantoms, the 
heroes) ; a plain to the south-west of Jerusalem bore 
their name, and they were confounded with tho Titanic 
races buried beneath the sea. 

The language of the Canaanites, as we have already 
observed, was the same as that of the Sidonians or 
the Phosnicians, and consequently very Little diiferent 
from that of tho Hebrew people. Writing was not 
employed among them. We have, however, an 
authentic and considerable specimen of their lan- 
guage ; it is the onomasticon of the geography of 
Palestine, especially the names of the towns. The 

* Job, ch. Tizx. 

t Numbers, ch, xili., v. 28, 82 and followiug, 
I The Book of Josbaa, ch. xii., xiii., jif., xv., greatly 
Axaggerates the importance of the A&akliiiB. 



I 



19% ff/STOKr OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

Israelites changed hardly any names of villages or ' 
towns, as is proved by the localities pointed out in the 
Book of Joshua itself as having remained Canaanite. 
In tho countries where the Israelites became masters, 
the names were seldom modified ; even the words 
Jeritsalem and Sion appear to belong to a previous 
period. This holds even truer of the names of 
rivers and mountains and words employed to denote 
things characteristic of the country. Now theso 
old Canaauito names, often obscure, which is only 
natural, when we bear in mind their great antiquity, 
do not materially differ from the language of the 
Israelite invaders, not more indeed than from the 
more ancient invaders, Moabifes, Edomites, Ammo- 
nites, &e. The Philistines alone, iu this linguistic 
region, present an exception. A mixed marriage 
between Israelite and Philistine is never spoken of.* 

Although identical, as far as race goes, with the 
populations of the coast, who bceamo so celebrated 
under the name of Phcenicians,andwith the Canaanitea 
of Africa, or Carthaginians, f the Canaanites of the 
interior appear to have remained fur below the 
Phcenicians and the Carthagiuiaus in the matter of 
civilisation. Their ornaments of dress and of worship 
must have come from the Phoenician cities of the 
coast. The inhabitanta of Laish, at the foot of 



" Remark the omisBion of Philistine women. First Book of 
Kings, ch, si., v. 1. It was sot considered necessary to prohibit 
such marriages. The two races were too different. 

t Passages of St. Augustine often qaoted. 



CONQUEST OF REGION BEYOND JORDAN 193 

Hermon, are pointed out as an exception, because 
they lived in the interior "after the manner of the 
Sidonians," that is to say in the midst of case and 
luxury, the fruit of industry. All the archeologieal 
vestiges of the Canaanites to be found in the Palestine 
oF to-day are inide without art. The aspect of a 
Canaanitc city could not have differed much from the 
poorest locality of Syria of the present time. Sump- 
tuous buildings were rare, or were appai-ently entirely 
wanting. 

The worship of the Canaanites was also very little 
ditforent from that of the Phoenicians, especially 
from that of the Carthaginians. According to the 
Egyptians,*^ Baal and Sydyk were the supreme gods 
of the Khetas. Sydyk, in fact, seems to reappear 
in the names of the Jebusitc kings, Malkisedeq, Adoni- 
sedcq. Baal assumed a double form, and took the 
shape of a woman, of Astoreth or Astarte, goddess of 
loTc and of voluptuousness, origin of the Aphrodite 
of the Greeks. They called her Asera, that is to say 
the Happy "Woman. Her images or symbolsf were 
spread through the country.^ The worship of Baal 
and of Astoreth or Asera was performed chiefly on 

• Mftspero, HUt. anc. de iOrienI, p. 282. 

f Probably the siga ^ eo freqauotly EeeQ on PliccDician and 
Carthaginian monnmoatB. Soo Corpus inscr. aumit., part i., t. 1, 
pp. 281 and following, 428 and following. 

J Misiian dt Phenicie, pp. 508, 509, 640, 658, 662, G03, 666, 
691. These images were called aserim or axerath, as the images of 
Baal were called hmtUm. In the same way we speak of dca chritts, 
de* bons-dieiu;, da taintn-vierges. 



19+ aJSTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

tho tops of hills, in the midBt of sacred boweia i 
and of greeu trees. This was what was called 
bamoth, or high places. They are still to be found 
at every step in Phcenicia, especially in the country 
of Tyre, in the ancient territory of the tribe of 
Asher.* Sacred prostitution-f and the practice of 
making their first-born pass through the fire} were 
among the bases of these religious, which the 
nomad Hebrews viewed with horror, but which they 
imitated dii'eetly they were settled. So true is it 
that living in tents alone had preserved them from 
those rites. 

In addition to the high places of the Canaanites there 
were places of worship of unknown origin, such as 
Bethel, Sichem, Garizim, some localities in Gilead, 
certain places called Galgal, which the Hebrews 
adopted much more willingly, for they were held to be 
very ancient, and it was related that the fathers had 
sacrificed there. Tho title upon which Israel laid the 
most stress in order to establish its right over Pales- 
tine was a sort of charter of lahvch, regarded as god 
of Bethel.§ It was quite in the sjiirit of antiquity, 
on entering a country, to adopt the local god, and to 
endeavour to serve him according to his tastes.i| 

* Minimi de PhinicU, Book IV., eli. iv. 

t Ibid., pp. 518, 086, 647—653, 662, 603. 

{ Second Book of KingB, ch. xvi., y, 8 and following, 

§ Genesis, ch. zxviil, v. 13 and following; cb. sxxi., t. 18 and 
following, 

II First Book of Bamael, ch, xxvi., v. 10 ; Second Book of 
Kings, ch. xvii., v. 27 ; Rath, cb. i., v. 16, 



CONQUEST OF REGION BEYOND JORDAN. 195 

What grieved David, when lie foresaw his exile, was 
that he would be forced to sacrifice to other gods 
than lahveh.* Later on Naaman the Syrian, wish- 
ing to offer up sacrifices to lahveh, at Damascus, 
asked leave to carry with him two mule loads of 
Canaanite earth, for no real sacrifice could be made 
to lahveh except upon that earth.f 

In reality these Canaanites represented but an in- 
different form of human society. There was no central 
organisation. Every fortified hamlet had a meUk^ or 
king, a little military chief whose authority extended 
two or three leagues round.J Certain tribes, like 
the Gibeonites, formed confederations several leagues 
in extent. Each city trusted in its fortifications. 
Although we have no authentic specimen of these 
military works, one can form an idea of them from 
the innumerable telh of Palestine, their summits 
covered with ruins and their flanks carved out of the 
rock. 

The resistance offered by the Canaanite tribes was 
very different, according as they lived in mountain or 
plain. In the mountains the Canaanites everywhere 
fell before the Israelites ; in the plains, on the con- 
trary, at Saron, at Naphoth Dor, in the plain of 
Jezrael, at Beth-Sean, in Ghor, the Canaanites defended 
themselves victoriously. The cause of this difference 
lay in the chariots of war, protected with iron, which 

* First Book of Samnel, ch. xzvi., v. 19. 
t Second Book of Kings, ch. v., v. 17. 
X Joshua, ch. zii., v. 7. 



196 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

the natives possessed, but not the invaders. These I 
chariots, terrible in the plains, were useless in the J 
mountains. There the Canaanites had nothing to | 
defend them but the Tvalls of their towns. The 
Israelites had no knowledge of the art of military 
engineering. They waited and finally entered the 
place by surprise or treason.* 

The Canaanites do not appear to have had any 1 
cavalry, in the sense in whieh we understand the word, 
nor had the assailants any. Personal courage consisted, 
on both sides, of that furious dash, sometimes artificially 
excited, in which still lies the force of the Arab. It 
seems to have been greater and more obstinate on the 
part of the Israelites. 

Both sides were alike cruel. All antiquity was 
cruel. Cruelty was an advantage not to be dis- 
pensed with. Ferocity is one of the forces of bar- 
barians. The fear inspired by their atrocities makes 
people submit to them. One of the essential points 
of Carthaginian strategy was to frighten the enemy 
by their torturcs-t The custom of cutting off the 
thumbs, the hands, and the feet of the conquered 
was usual among the Canaanites. One of their 
littlo tj-rants boasted that he had seen seventy kings, 
mutilated in this manner, pick up what fell from his 
tablet 

As for the Israelites, their cruelty, if one is to believe 



* TLus full Ai and Bethel. 
t Example of Agathoclcs. 
t Judges, ch. i., v. 7. 



1 



CONQUEST OF REGION BEFOND JORDAN. 197 

the ancient records, was systematically dictated by 
religious motives, by a kind of moral puiitanism pro- 
duced by the crimes committed by the natives. This 
is doubtless an e3:aggeratiou on the part of later his- 
torians. The invaders do not appear to have drawn 
up any plan for the extermination of the Canaanite 
race. Later, this extermination became an act of piety, 
commanded by lahveh. lu a number of instances 
there was an xmderstanding arrived at between the 
two races. The Canaanitcs accepted a situation 
analogous to that of the rajahs under the Mussulmans. 
We do not see that they ever revolted. Under the 
Judges we read of wars against the Philistines, against 
the Ammonites, &e. We do not read of any against 
the Jebusites, the Hivites, &c. The first wars, those 
of Joshua, were terrible. After the victory all the 
male inhabitants of the Canaanitea wci-o slain; the 
kings were massacred, then the dead bodies were 
crucified. Human ferocity assumed the form of a 
compact with, of a vow to, the Divinity: oaths of 
extermination were taken ; reason and pity were pro- 
hibited. A city or a country was condemned to de- 
struction, and it would have been considered an insult 
to their god not to have kept this hideous oath.* 
Fearful examples were related of the vengeance 
wreaked by the god on those who wavered in the 
execution of these fearful engagements. 

♦ This U the mefining of the word /h-/'.'»i, so deplorably rapeated 
in theso books. Sea Joshua, cb. vl., vU. ; Finil Book of Samael, 
ch. zv. 



Sr OF TSE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

The contrast is strange between these Red Indian ' 
customs, reproduced with fearful sincerity in ancient 
Israelite history, and the picture of patriarchal life, so 
noble, so humane, so pure, traced in Genesis. Of a 
truth this picture is too ideal for ua not to suspect that 
it has been embellished. In fact, however, seeing the 
low scale of Eastern morality, tent life, in the Semi- 
tiquc or Semitlsed countries, has always been preferable 
to that in the towns, A nation which has a territory 
to conquer or to defend is always more cruel than the 
tribe which is not yet attached to the soU, and it is 
thus that people at times, excellent while living 
together in families, become cruel when they form a 
nation. Then, it appears that people in ancient times 
on losing their simplicity became harsh and vindictive. 
Nations at their birth are ferocious. Now, about this 
date, 1,200 or 1,300 years before' Jesus Christ, nations 
began to be bom in the East. Principles, true under 
the patriarchal epoch, could no longer be applied.* 
The bases of justice were changed. What was 
true in the days of pastoral life was no longer so 
in an age of iron, in which a man, honest according 
to the ancient acceptation of the term, was at every 
instant misunderstood and a victim. 

I do not know if Joshua had a greater historical 
reality than Jacob. But of a truth the tender- 
hearted Jacob would have been disgusted had he 
been able to witness many of the acts of Joshua, 

* Five htmdred years later Uiis was the cause of Job's deep 
despair. 



CONQUEST OF REGION BEYOND JORDAN. 199 

afterwards reputed to be glorious. Jacob on his 
death-bed is supposed to have cursed Simeon and 
Levi for their misdeeds, which, as compared with those 
of the conquest, might well have passed for moderate 
reprisals.* 

* GenesiSi ch. xlix., v. 5, 7 ; ch. zxziv. 



CHAPTER in. 



JUDAH AND BENJAMIN. 



The passage of tlie Jordan certainly took place oppo- 
site to Jericho.* The Jordan at this place is about 
as wide as the Thames at "Windsor. In spring ono 
can wade across it ; towards the end of summer and 
in autumn it is little more than two feet deep. It was 
easy to effect a passage, though only a few could cross 
over at the same time. Since the establishment of 
their principal camp at Arbofh Moab, detachments 
more or less considerable of Beni-Israel incessantly 
passed tho fords. These raids merely excited the 
cupidity of their brethi-en. The rich oasis of Jericho, 
with its palm-trees and its perfumes, tempted tho 
tribes. The city was taken, probably by treason, and 
destroyed. It was afterwards rebuilt ; but no doubt 
at some distance from where the Canaanite city stood. 

After tho capture of Jericho, the central camp of 
Israel was removed to a place called Gilgal, in that 
well-watered plain which stretches from the foot of 
the mountain to the mouth of the Jordan. Gilgal or 
Galgalf means a heap of stones dedicated to a religious 

* Second Book of Samuel, ch. ivii., v. 22, 24 ; ch, lix., v. 18, 
17, 39. In order to bijug in bis mitacio, the nnmitor of Jothiia ia 
obliged to suppose circnmBtancea derived from the season. 

t Equivalent otijal. 



JUDAH AND BENJAMIN. 201 

purpose. The Gilgal in question was probably a 
sacred mound of the Canaanites ; but perhaps it owed 
its origin to an Israelitish encampment, or it may 
have been a mound raised for sacrifices. Afterwards 
it was supposed that in these megalithic monuments 
had been found a souyenir of the miraculous passage 
of the Jordan.* The puritans saw in them the re- 
mains of pagan worship, and in this way the Gal- 
gal of Jericho became a religious centre greatly 
revered by some, very obnoxious to others, f so 
much so that this name has often been given to 
various localities. However that may be, the Gilgal 
of Jordan became the starting point for a series of 
expeditions into the mountains. It is a very false 
idea J to look upon Israel at this moment as an 
organised army, having only one commander. Nearly 
all the expeditions were undertaken by bands of 
adventurers, acting on their own account. § Some- 
times a band was composed of men belonging to 
various tribes; the expedition then assumed a kind 
of federal character; but these operations must 
have been rare, and they produced no serious 
consequences in the ulterior institutions of the 
nation. 

An expedition which appears to have been made 

* Joshua, ch. iv. 

t Judges, ch. iii., v. 19| 26 ; Hosea, ch. iv., v. 15 ; ch. ix 
V. 15 ; ch. xii., v. 12 ; Amos, ch. iv., v. 4. 

\ This is owing to the fictitious form of the story in the Book of 
Joshua. 

Numhers, ch. xxxii., v. 83 — 42. 



joi HJSTORr OF THE PEOPLE i 

by an army composed of the men of all 
tribes was that irhich ended in the destruction 1 
of the Canaanite city which was afterwards called 1 
ha-A'i, "the heap of ruins," near Bethel. The reai'l 
name of the city was forgotten; but the recol- 
lection of the skilful strategcms attributed to 
Joshua, the chief who personified all this period 
of military raids, was preserved. The city, like 
Jericho, was laid under a herem or anathema. Every 
one was killed, and tho king was nailed to a 
tree until the evening. The execution was still 
more atrocious than that of Jericho, since the 
town was never rebuilt, and even its name was obli- 
terated. 

Terror spread through the country. Many tribes 
submitted and accepted the yoke in order to eecapo 
death. The division of the Canaanite tribes aided the 
invaders. Every town followed its own policy without 
troubling itself about others. This was particularly 
the case in the confederation of tho Gibconites. This 
little tribe, of Hivito origin,* possessed four or five 
towns, Gibcon,t Kefii-a, }ieeroth, } Kiriath-Icarim.§ 
These towns had no kings, and consequently no 
military force; they accepted tho new-comers and 
concluded a treaty with them, which reserved all 
their rights, but which little by little was for- 



» Joshna, cb. xi., v. 19 
t To-day FJ-njib. 
X To-day Birth. 
§ TcHiay Abu-Qo»th. 



JVDAH AND BENJAMIN. loj 

gotten, or rather transformed into a tolerably hard 
bondage* 

The town which became the centre of this history, 
and which perhaps from that time was called lerousa- 
laim, "place of safety," and Sion (fortress ),t served 
as oppidum to a small tribe named leboiisim. It was a 
fortified summit on the brink of a ravine, much deeper 
then than now. % The Jebusitea' city was built on the 
spot now occupied by the haram, stretching along the 
crest of the mountains to the south. A little spring, 
called Gihon,§ was no doubt the cause of the selection 
of this locality, which afterwards held an exceptional 
position among the sacred pilgrimages. The Jebusites 
considered themselves menaced by the arrival of the 
Israelites. || Their king, Adoniseclok,5[ especially, was 
alarmed at the alliance which the Gibeonites had 
formed with these dangerous strangers. Ue opened 
negotiations with four neighbouring Amoritc kings, 
to wit, the King of Hebron, the King of Jarmut, the 
King of Lakish, the King of Eglon, and the five kings 
laid siego to Gibeon. Joshua, or whoever was tbo 



* Joahna, cb. is. The bondage was Dot complete until andor 
Solomon. 

+ See Gesenias, Tliea., p. 1154. The meaning of Sion is 
donbtfnl. 

I Joaephus, Ant., XX., ix., p. 7. English excavatione have 
Bhown the description given by Joseplins to Lave been trae, 

§ Called Fonntain of the Virgin. 

II Josbna, cb. x. 

V Adoni, in these old names, is always followed by the name of 
a god, as Adoni-Iab, Adoni-Ram, Adonihezek, who seems to be the 
same person as Adonisedek. 

VOL. I, Q 



aot HTSTORy OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

chief of Israel, had Btill his camp at Gilgal, near 1 
place ivhere the passage of the Jordan had been effected. 
The Israelite army marched in a body to force the five 
kings to raise the siege of Giboon. A panic seized on 
the Canaanite army ; it fled towards Bethorau as far 
as Maqqeda. Joshua pursued it, cut it in pieces, 
killed, it is said, the five kings and crucified them. A 
popular song* celebrated this victory ; in it were found 
these two lines: — 

Sun, stand Uioa still npon Gibeon, 
And thoQ, moon, in the volley of Ajulon. 

The poet wished to express the astonishment of nature 
at tlie prodigious effort of the Israelites. This rhetori- 
cal figure -f afterwards gayc rise to some curious mis- 
takes. The two lines were placed in the mouth of 
Joshua, and in changing the meaning of the word, 
which signifies "stood still with astonishment," J 
it was supposed that the sun really stood still at the 
order of Joshua, 

The capture of Maqqeda, of Libna, of Lakish, of 
Gezer, of Eglon, took place rapidly one after the other. 
More important still was the capture of Hebron § and 
of Debir, which were the capitals of the southern 



* Preserved in the I/nher. 

i lu the Song of Debomh the stars fought agilinst Sisera. 

1 The verh damam means "to be silent, slruck with terror." 
The ffiistako is crentod by the substitution of <ivia<i, which means, 
materially spenking, " to stop." 

§ Judges, ch. i., v, 9—15 ; Joshua, ch, x., v. 86 and following ; 
ch. xii., V. 10 ; ch, xv., v. 18 ; ch. xx., v. 7. 



JUDAH AND BENJAMIN. i 

Canaanifes, who seemed to have possessed a culture 
superior to that of the rest of the country. It "was 
asserted that Hebron was given as a fief to a legendary- 
hero of Judah, to a certain Caleb,* concerning whom 
many wonderful tales wore told. In reality Caleb ap- 
pears, like Judah, to have signified a tribe, that of 
Calbiel (dogs of God),t specially devoted to war, and 
almost synonymous to Judah. 

Thus in a series of successful raids, which probably 
followed each other rapidly, the whole country which 
afterwards formed that of Benjamin and Judah was 
conquered. As these two tx-ibes always acted to- 
gether, and as the first conquest just corresponds to 
their frontiers, we are led to believe that the conquest 
itself was their work. Judah was one of the principal 
divisions of Beni- Israel. The Benjamitcs appear to us 
to have been a smaller division of youthful wamors, 
bearing a bad reputation for morality,^ forming a 
sort of body of light infantry, from among whom 
were chosen the archers and slingere. The name, 
which signifies " left-handed," was derived from the 
habit they had contracted of making use of the 
left instead of the right hand, which was advan- 
tageous in handling the sling,§ The two divisions, 

* Judges, ch. i., V. 20. 

t Corpus imcr. nemil., part i., Nos. 49, 62, 86, Caleb is 
surely the Bliort'forbwabs. Othoniel is cepliew of. Caleb; now 
Othooiel means Lioa of God, equivalent to Ariel. 

\ Horrible stories. Judges, ch. xs., xxi. 

§ Judges, cb. iii., v. IG ; ch. xx., v. 16; First Book of 
Chronicles, ch. viii,, v. 39; eb. xii., v. 2; Second Book of 
Chronicles, ch. xiv,, v. 7. 

q2 



io6 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

at any rate, acted together and shared the fruit o 
campaign. 

The Benjamites, far less numerous, had their capital 
at Gibeah,* a league north of Jerusalem. They 
were very important aa fighting men ; but they had 
hardly any territory. They failed in several attempts 
to take the city of the Jebusites.f On the other hand 
the Gibeonites lived independent beside them, and 
Gezer was never taken.J The other tribes were 
obliged once or twice to punish them terribly, which 
almost led to their dcstruction.§ 

The Jiidahitoa occupied in a much more effective 
manner the territory which henceforth bore their 
name. The whole of Palestine sloping to the south 
of Jenisalem belonged to them, but they were 
powerless against the men of the plain along the sea 
coast, who possessed iron war-chariots. |I The Philistines 
also formed a barrier to the west which they did not 
attempt to attack.^ 



* To-day Tolnl-el-foul. 
+ Judges, ch. i., v. 21, 
X Judges, ch. i., Y. 29. 
§ Judges, cb. zx., xxi, 

)| Judges, ch. i 



Bobiiisoii, i., pp. 677 and following. 



^Judges, ch. i 



. 18, is surely a mistake or an interpolation. 



CHAPTEK IV. 

THE CONQUEST OF MOUNT EPHRAIM AND THE NOETH. 

The triumph of Benjamin and Judah over a great 
number of the Canaanite tribes of the south had the 
most important consequences. Under the protection 
of the Judahites, and always aided by them,* the 
Simeonites took possession of the cities to the extreme 
south, Arad, Beershebah, all the celebrated places of 
the last patriarchal days. The hostility shown by 
the King of Sefat to the Israelites will be remembered. 
The city condemned to herem was annihilated ; it was 
called Horma.^ Simeon never separated itself from 
Judah ;$ a number of towns are represented at the 
same time as Judahite and Simeonite ; the limits on 
the south between Simeon and Edom remained unde- 
fined. These regions were the pastures of the 
nomads; the ownership of the soil hardly existed. 
The Amalekites and the Shemites § continued to live 
both as shepherds and brigands. Simeon conquered 
them; he reappears in the time of Hezekiah, then 

* Joshua, ch. six., v. 9. 

t Judges, ch. i., v. 17. 

X Judges, ch. i., V. 2 and following, 17. 

§ First Book of Chronicles, ch. iv., v. 40 and following. 



loS HISTVSr OF THE PEOPLE OF ISltAEL. 

his trace Tanishes, absorbed as the tribe was on one ] 
side by Judah, on the other by Edom. 

Dan, also, under the protection of Benjamin andl 
Judah, found a fixed dwelling place, at least for a 
time. This was the weakest of the tribes of Israel. 
The Danitcs encamped between Jerusalem and the 
Mediterranean, to the north of the Philistines and 
the west of the Gibeonites.* They never succeeded 
in subduing the CanaaniteSj or even in establishing 
themselves, and they almost all migrated to the nortb-t 
Aijalou, Bethsemes, Saalbim remained Canaanite, and 
the Ephraimites were afterwards obliged to conquer 
them.J Jaffa always remained a purely Phoenician 
city, without any continuous connection with the 
Israelites. 

The JoBcphites continued to hold the first rank in 
the family of Israel. "We have seen a fraction of 
Manassch, the Makirites, conquer Hor and Bataneh 
and colonise them. The other Manassehites, among 
whom were also fo\md many Makirites and Ephraim- 
ites, the second branch of Joseph, established them- 
selves in the coxmtry which was afterwards called 
Samaria.§ The war was fierce and cruel : the 
Canaauites of the plain, especially those on the side 
of Beth-Sean and Jezrael, had war chai'iots plated 
with iron, which filled with fear the Bedouins aceus- 

• Song of Deborah, V, 17. 
+ Joshua, ch. xix., v. 47, 48. 
} Judges, ch., V. 84, 35. 

§ It is curiotiB that the Book of Joahna, whicli relates the eon- 
qneats of Joehna, does not mcDliou that of Sumaria. 



' 



CONQUEST OF MOUNT EPHRAIM, aog 

tomed to fight in mountain and ravine. The clearing 
of the forests occupied by the Perizzitea and the 
remainder of the Auakim was also a matter of difficulty 
aud daoger.* 

The valley of Sichem, with its abundant streams, 
seemed marked as the site of the capital of thia splen- 
did country. The Ephraimitcs built a very strong 
position there, perhaps after coming to terms with the 
Hivites of the district. A gi'oat many legends were 
circulated to show that Jacob, wandering in this region, 
had acquired a regular claim to it,*f that Joseph was 
buried there,J that the patriarchs had made of this 
place the centre of the worship of Iahveh.§ Sichem, 
in fact, was always the religious centre of the Josejih- 
ites, and often the rallying point for all Israel, before 
the genius of this singular people had been centred 
solely on Jerusalem. 

It was in some respects the same as regards Shiloh. 
Bhiloh may bo regarded as having been the first cen- 
tral point of the whole family of Israel.]! As soon as 
the great temporary camp of Gilgal was raised the 
ark was established there, and it remained there for 
centuries.^f Shiloh was, in this way, a common city. 

• JoBhua, ch. xvii., v. 14 — 18. 

t Genesis, cb. xxxiiL, v.- 18 ; ch. xxxiv., V. 2 ; ch. xxxvii., v. 12 
aod following. 

{ Joshua, ch. xsiv., v. 32 ; Genesia, ch. 1., v. 25. 

g Genesis, ch. xii., v. 7 ; ch. xsxiii., v. 20 ; Joshua, ch. xiiv., 
V. 26. 

II Josbaa, ch. xix., v. '■i and following ; ch. xxi., v. 22 ; ch. xxii., 
V. 9, 12. 

1i Up to Eli and Samuel. 



2IO HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

The fine stretch, of plain was a favourable place of i 
meeting of all Israel. 

Bethel was also a federal point, half-way betweea 
the Bonjamites auJ the Joeephites,* Its conquest 
seems to have been accomplished by the Josephites by 
Burprise.f As we have said, it was a place of great 
religious importance. The God of Bethel was the God 
of the whole land of Palestine. lie was in this way 
one of the elements which entered into the composi- 
tion of lahveh. The old Canaanile sauctuarj' of Bethel 
(perhaps a graduated pyramid like the substructure of 
the Assyrian temples) was not destroyed until a rather 
recent period, and for a long time proved a formidable \ 
rival to Jerusalem. 

Issachar had the ill-defined territory between the ] 
house of Joseph and the tribes of the north. The large J 
number of properties running the one into the other j 
to be found in this country shows that the division of I 
land was due to the chances of conquest, and not tal 
a topographical operation executed deUberately, as thai 
Book of Joshua, always so artificial, would have us 
believe. 

The Israelitish occupation in these regions was still 
more incomplete than in the south. Ghor and the 
plain of Jezrael defended themselves with their iron 
chariots. The Phojnician town of Dor was the me- 
tropolis of the whole shore from Carmel to Jaffa. 
The coast known under the name of Naphoth-Dor, and 



* Judges, ch. xvi 
t Jndges, ch. L, ' 



. 22 oDd following. 



CONQUEST OF MOVNT EPHRAIM. 211 

the Bouthem slope of Carmel,* remained Phcenician. 
The native populations of Taanach, Megiddo, Endor, 
Jibleam, Beth-Sean, and all the right bank of Jordan 
as far as the point at which it leavea the Lake of 
Genesareth, resisted Manasseh and Issacharf victori- 
ously. The whole plain of Jezrael also escaped them. 

Zabulon and Naphtali took what was afterwards 
called the " circle of the Gentiles," Galilee.J But 
their occupation was in reality merely a cohabitation 
with the previously established races. The towns of 
Kitron and Nahalol remained Canaanite.§ Laish or 
Lesem, until tho posterior invasion of the Danites, was 
an industrial and trading town, living after the manner 
of Sidon.JI The Canaanite King of Hazor continued to 
reign to the west of Lake Houle and along the upper 
banks of tho Jordan.^ 

Asher possessed still less effectively tho country 
where it established itself. The Phcenicians always 
remained masters of the coast, and the children of 
Asher were never more than tolerated by them.** 

The establishment of Israel iu the eounti'ies north of 
Palestine was slow-tt -A- long time passed between tho 
passage of the Jordan and the day when Asher, as a 

* A piece of a PhcODiciao iuscripLiou was fonnd there. 
t Joshua, ch. svii., v. 11 and followiugi Judges, ch. i., v. 27. 
} Isaiah, ch. iviii., v. 23. 
g Judges, ch. i., V. 80—32. 
II Judges, ch, xviii., v. 7. 
^ JoBhno, ch. xi., v. 10, 
•* Judges, ch. i., V. 31 ; ch. v., v. 17. 

tt The campaign of Joshua against Jabia is a repetition of what 
is related in the Book of Judges, ch. iv. 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



tribe, really came into existence. It required, in fao^ 
two or three centuries to complete this conquest ; it was 
a daily struggle, the battle of the iron and the earthen 
pot. The element the least capable of resistance was 
broken. The Book of Joshua, which attributes tlio 
conquest of the whole of Palestine to one gi-eat captain, 
is the least historical of the books of the Bible. If one 
excepts the taking of Jericho, the establishment of the 
Benjamites at Gibcah, and the occupation in force of 
several towns by the tribe of Judah, tlio conquests 
set dowTi to the account of Joshua (an alleged series 
of overwhelming victories and monstrous extermina- 
tions), never took place. By some successful raids 
Israel established its ascendency over the little 
Canaanite kings of the south. Some towns were 
effectually occupied together with their territories, and 
some sections of tribes, like the Gibeonites, treated with 
the new-comers. Lastly, a great number of towns, like 
the leromala'im of the Jebusites,''* like Gezar,t like 
Beth-Sean,t resisted successfully. The two popula- 
tions harmonised with each other like a sponge and 
water. Their language was the same, and they could 
have had little difficulty in coming to an undor- 
Btanding.§ The religious fanaticism ■which was des- 
tined afterwards to render the Israelites such bad 
neighboui-s as yet existed only in a latent condition. 



* Joahua, oh. xv.,r. 63. 
f Joshua, ch. xvi., v. 10. 
I Joshaa, ch. xvii., t. 12, 18. 
§ Isaiah, ch, idx., v. 18, 




CONQUEST OF MOUNT EPHRAIM. jij 

In order to understand this one must have seen 
how the ndtualis of Syria, who are the new-comerB, 
inasmuch as their arrival in the region of Lebanon dates 
only from the time of the Crusades, have mixed with 
the other races of the country. One must have seen 
the mixed or rather double villages, where two popu- 
lations live together hating and yet tolerating one 
another. Nearly the whole of Turkey presents a 
similar spectacle. It is impossible to draw the map 
of such countries. A map gives one only the well- 
defined divisions of states and provinces. Now, in 
the time of the human societies to which I refer, 
there was no such a thing as a state. There was the 
tribe and the town. The tribe and the town represent 
only an enlarged family. None of those powerful 
influences which trace such deep lines of demarcation 
in humanity had aa yet made themselves felt. 

Among excitable and capricious peoples, enmity 
is not often very durable, and the foe of one day 
often became the ally of the next. In the districts 
where the Canaanites and the Israelites were mixed, 
marriages between the two races were not rare.* 
Such and such a person was called " the son 
of the Canaanitc woman."f The mixture of reli- 
gions was still more common. There was no religious 
hatred between the populations. The Israelites, 
especially those in the mixed country, did not 
scruple to worship tho Baalims and the Astart^s of 

• Judges, cb. iii., v. 6. 
t ExoduB, ch. vi., v. 15. 



114 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

the place.* lahveh appeared only during federal 
manifestations, and these were not frequent. 

Israel was not yet a nation ; it waa an agglomera- 
tion of tribes which never lost sight of their common 
origin. And, among their relations, these tribes often 
included sections still nomad, with whom their ances- 
tors had been on terms of friendship or had indulged 
in neighbourly intercourse. This especially applies 
to the Edomite tribes and the Arabs of the south and 
the east. The Eenitcs, who during the journey 
through the desert had rendered service to the fugi- 
tives, came and settled near Arad, among the children 
of Judah and of Simeon.f It is supposed to have 
been the same with the Edomite tribe of Quenizzis.J 
The Jerahmelites and other remnants of patriarchal 
tribes, who continued to wander through the deserts 
of the south, affiliated themselves with tho already 
strongly coagulated mass of Judah.§ 

The position of the Israelitiah conquerors was very 
similar to that of tho Franks in the north of France . 
in the sixth century. Here and there were to be found 
small but compact bodies of new race, but more fre- 
quently simple military fiefs, not to speak of places of 
refuge, where the old race continued to live as of yore. 
In addition to all this there existed a sort of Dooma- 

* Jadgeg, ch. ui,, v. 6, 7. 

t Judges, cb. i., V. 16, and the largo Hebrew leiiooaa at word 

\ Judges, ch. i., V. 12, aod the large Hebrew lexicons al words 
Hp and nsp. 

§ Lexicons at words crrV and bucm'- 



CONQUEST OF MOUNT EPHRAIM. 215 

day Book of the epoch, a primitive partition among the 
families of the conquerors, founded upon genealogies 
which were recorded with greater care as time went on. 
The immutability of territorial property was laid down 
in principle for the family. In default of male children 
it was admitted that daughters could inherit conquered 
lands.* Soon after this we find the possession of the 
land regarded as a gift made for ever by lahveh, 
who endowed his own people by taking from others 
what they had planted and sown.| This is the 
eternal principle of conquest, which considers every 
kind of violence as legitimate, and which has the 
pretension of establishing for the future rights which 
it would be sacrilegious to attack. And the gods 
always appeared to consecrate the theft. 

In those years of conquest a great deal of heroism 
was displayed. We are so accustomed to look upon 
Israel as a holy tribe that we have some difficulty in 
representing to ourselves the ancestors of Jeremiah, of 
Esdras, of Jesus, and of St. Judah, like Achilles and 
Ajax, or even like so many Imrulkais and Antars. 
And yet Israel had its time of warlike enthusiasm. In 
its long struggles with Canaan there were incidents 
and adventures without number. These perilous cam- 
paigns, the ingenious means employed to capture 
towns, these stratagems which appear to us ill- 
disguised, but which were then considered extremely 

* The five danghters of Zelophehad, Numbers, ch. zxyii.| 
xxxvi. 

t Deuteronomy, cb. vi., v. 10. 



2i6 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

subtle, completed the epic poem commenced beyond 
Jordan. A tliousand talcs, for the most part legen- 
dary, celebrated the devices of Joshua, the daring of 
Caleb, the capture of Jericho, and the burning of Ai. 

All this formed a veritable epic cycle, the branches I 
of which were preser\'od in oral tradition during cen- 
turies. Each town, each province, had its legend. 
It was analogous to the Fotouh, or first victories of 
Islam, which afterwards became a pretext for all 
kinds of fables and exaggerations.* It was especially 
analogous to the ante-Islam Arab poetry. The custom 
of the Israelites, as of the ancient Arabs, was upon 
each solemn or characteristic occasion, especially where 
battles were concerned, to strike, metaphorically speak- 
ing, a medal by moans of an ode wliich the people sung in 
chorus, and which remained more or less engraved in 
the memory of generations. Memory in those remote 
ages, before writing was known, was capable of miracles. 
These songs formed an unwi-itten record, resembling in 
every respect the Divans of the Arab tribes. In the 
tenth centm-y b.c, the said songs were united and ex- 
plained by little tales in prose. Hence a book like the 
Kitub-cl-Affhiim of the Arabs. It was called the book 
of the Wars of lahveh f or the book of Jasher. Con- 
siderable portions of this old work have been preserved 
in more recent historical compilations. 

These epic songs, while furnishing matter for a 
Bacred book, visibly changed their character. The 

* See the tales of the false Wokedi. 

t Bee First Book of Bcunnel, cb. xviii., v. 17 ; ch. xxv., v. 28, 



CONQUEST OF MOUNT EPHRAIM, ai? 

supernatural penetrated through the heroic history 
from beginning to end. The little song about the 
spring which the chiefs discovered -with their wands 
gave rise to the rairaclo of Moses striking the rock 
with his rod. The rhetorical figure of the sun of 
Gibeon engendered the most hyperbolic of marvels. 
The passage of the Jordan, so easy to efiect, was 
accomplished with the superfluous connivance of the 
river. The miraculous establishment of Israel in 
Canaan became a second pillar of the Jewish dogma. 
Joshua was the continuation of Moses. The cycle of 
sacred legends, commencing with the patriarchal para- 
disc, and finishing with the partition of the land of 
Canaan between the tribes, was finished. But it took 
at least five hundi'cd years, it required the action of a 
very fanatical religious party, before the necessary 
transformations for the establishment of such a histori- 
cal system could he accomplished. I cannot do better 
than let the story follow its natural sequence. 



CnAPTEE V. 



DEVELOPMENT OF MATERIALIST lAHVEHISM. 



The conquest of Palestine by the Israelites affected 
the Bituation of the god lahveh raoro radically than 
anything else. The adoption of this god by the Beni- 
Israel dated as we have seen from the most ancient 
teachings which Israel had received at Ur-Clasdira, or 
rather in the Padan-Aram. But in the ancient 
patriarchal elohwn snch a name could never enjoy a 
great popularity. The author of the Book of Job, who 
endeavours to describe the theological ideal of that 
primitive age, avoids employing the name of lahveh. 
One of the ancient biblical stories imitates this 
example up to the time of Moses, 

We have seen how Israel's individual belief dawned 
upon the morrow of the coming out of Egypt. National 
individualism demands a special god. Prom that mo- 
ment lahveh became the protecting deity of Israel, 
bound to declare that they were right, even when they 
wore wrong. A victory on the part of Israel was a 
victory gained by lahveh ; the wars of Israel wero the 
wars of lahveh.* The favours, thanks to which tho 
people of Israel thought that they had crossed the desert, 
* First Book of Samuel, eh. xviii., v. 17. 



I 



DEVELOPMENT OF MATERIALIST lAHVEHISM. 119 

were the fayotirs of lahveh. lahveli, in a word, 
was exactly to Israel what Games waa to Moab. 
Jephthah admits that Camos gave Moab to the 
Moabities, as lahveh gave Canaan to the Israelites.* 
He was a national god, identified with the nation, 
victorious with it, vanquished with it.t He was in 
some sort the alter ego, the genius of the nation per- 
sonified, the spmi of the nation in the sense applied 
by savages to the word {esprit). It is easy to see 
how completely opposed such an idea is from Israel's 
point of departure. At tho beginning, the elokim, 
with no individuality of their own, were kneaded more 
or less into one Elohim, sole master of the world, who, 
in due time, became the only God of the Christians, 
the Creator and Judge of the universe. 

In the desert lahveh was stUl hut a god of nomads, 
a god withont land, unable to dispose of an acre. Now 
he has conquered a country which he has bestowed 
on his servants. It is unnecessary to know if he bo 
just or not ; bo favours Israel, that is sufficient. Israel 
is already almost a nation ; it has all the defects of 
one. The essence of a nation is to believe that tho 
entire world exists for it, that God thinks of nothing 
hut it. As long as the old spirit of Elobism lasted that 
dangerous name of lahveh was a matter of no conse- 
quence. El and lahveh were two kinds of synonymg 
which were indifferently employed. J But everything 

* Judges, ch. xi., v. 24, a slight confusion, 
t Song of Deborub, essentially lahvist (Judges, cb. v.). Seo 
below, pp. 2C5 nnd following, 

J Hohrader, AV Keiliusehi: ,ii,d das A. T., pp. 23, 24. 
VOL. r. R 



I 



aao HISTORY OF". 



: Of ISRAEL. 



was changed when IiihveU became a local, patriol 
national god. From that time he waa ferocious. This 
new lahveh was no longer the antique Bource of 
strength and life in the world. lie was a political 
Blaughtorcr, a god who showed favour to a little tribe 
fCT fas et ne/aa. AH the crimes perpetrated were 
about to be ordered in the name of lahveh. 

Such an evolution is in the natiu*al order of things, 
and we have seen ouc happen in our days. Germany, 
by the philosophy to which it has given birth, by the 
voice of its men of genius, had more succcsafuUy pro- 
claimed than any other race the absolute, impei-sonal, 
and supreme nature of the Divinity. But, when she 
became a nation, she was led, according to the way of all 
flesh, to particularise God. The Emperor "William has 
on several occasions spoken of wiser Gotl, and the god 
of the Germans. The fact is that nation and philosophy 
have little to do with each other. Patriotism, among 
other meannosses, has the pretension of having a god of 
its own. lahveh elohenu, "lahveh our god," said the 
Israelite. Unser Gott says the German. A nation is 
always egotistical. It desires that the God of heaven 
and earth should think of no other interests than its 
own. Under one name or under another it creates for 
itself tutelary divinities. Christianity offered some 
difficulties in tliis matter owing to the severity of its 
dogma ; but the instincts of a nation always carry the 
day. Catholicism has escaped from the orthodox chains 
by means of the saints : St. George, St. Denis, St. James 
of Corapostello, ai'c really on a pai" with Camos and 
lahveh. In our day wc have seen the Sacred Heart 



.tia^l 



I 



DEVEL 0PM ENT OF MA TERIALIST IAHVEHISa 

employed in a similar maimer. Protc9tanti8m, like 
Judaism, has no other resource, under similar circum- 
stances, than the possessive pronoun, unser Goit. 
Strange contradiction, fearful blasphemy ! God is the 
proiwrty of no nation, of no individual. As well say, 
My absolute, my infinite, inij supreme Being. 

lahveh is simply the confiscation, sacrilegious assur- 
edly, though to a certain extent logical, of the power of 
Elohim to the profit of Israel. The great Workman has 
only one care, that is to make the childrea of Israel 
triumph over their enemies. IleQeeforth God has a dis- 
tinctive name in Israel as he has in Moab, which ia a 
great decline from a religious point of view. A dis- 
tinctive name is the negation itself of the divine essence, 
hut a great progress in a national point of view ! 

If it had been the destiny of Israel to found a nafion 
there would have been no reason to condemn this act 
of simple egoism which all nations have committed iu 
their origin. But the national tendency, with its 
special god, was only a fugitive eixor on the part of 
Israel. Those toiTible abolitionists, the prophets, the 
real depositaries of the instinct of the race, were 
destined to destroy in detail this cruel, partial, and 
rancorous lahveh, and to return, by a series of more 
and more vigorous eftorts, iu the primitive elohmn, to 
the patriarchal god, to the El of the large tent, to the 
true god. The history of Israel may be summed up 
in a word ; it was an effort continued thi-ough long 
ages to shake off the false god lahyeh and to return 
to the prinutive Elohim. 

e2 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



The revolution accomplished by the prophets did not 
go as far as a change of expressions. The word lahveh 
was too deeply rooted in the nation to be removed. It 
was retained. The idea, universally accepted, that 
lahveh was the most powerful of the gods, naturally 
led people to speak of lahveh as thoy had formerly 
Bpoken of El or Elohira. lahveh thus became tho 
supreme being who made and who governed tho world. 
There waa what the theologians call communicatio 
idiomatum. The words became changed, and in 
course of time even that of lahveh was suppressed. 
The utterance of it was forbidden, and it was replaced 
by the purely deist word "the Lord." Tho great 
Christian propagation, as I have said,* did not know 
this word. The distinctive name did not come into 
use again until the seventeenth centurj', and even 
then it remained an erudite pretension which did not 
penetrate seriously into the religious conscience of 
Christian nations. 

The gods were transformed but always retained the 
mark of their origin. lahveh, through all his meta- 
morphoses, remained essentially a Jova flammeus. lie 
spoke with a voice of thunder. "f He never appeared 
without storm and earthquakoj — 

Then the earth ehook aod trembled ; tbe foundations also of the 
hills movoil and were shaken, because ho was wrath. 

There went ont smoke out of bia nostrils, and fire ont of hia 
month devoured : coals were kindled by it. 



* See above, p. 151. 
t Exodus, ch. xiz., v 
X Psalm zvlii. 



10 ; Psalm xxix., and following. 



J 



DEVELOPMENT OF MATERIALIST lAHVEmSM. zzj 

He bowed the heavana also and oame down ; and darkness was 
under his feet. 



And again* — 

The voice of lahveb is npon the -waters: the God of glory 
thundcreth : lahveh is upon many waters. 



Even the powerful associations whieli, at all events 
since the crossing of the desert, connected lahveh with 
the mountains of Sinai were never destroyed. The 
principal dwelling of lahveh was always there ; hia 
customary Olympus was in Sinai. There he resided in 
the midst of his thunderbolts ; from there he emerged 
with terrible splendour when his people stood in need 
of him. His track, in such cases, was always the same. 
He came from the south, from the dii*ection of Seir and 
Paran ; he shone like an aurora borealis ; the earth 
trembled ; it was the signal for severe judgments about 
to be executed on the nations in order to revenge 
wrongs done to Israel.t 

"We have seen that the patriarchal ago was not free 
from superstition, the tiraphim, and the little gods in 
wood, in clay, and in metal. These Uraphim repre- 
sented special gods, not the only El, or the supreme 
Elohim. lahveh retained the trace of his peculiar 
origin ; being long represented in this manner. Our 
information on this subject is very incomplete, the 
puritans of a later age having suppressed whatever 

* Pflalm xas.. 

t Song of Deborah and Paalm Izviii. 



224 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

part of the text appeared to them too scandalous. But 
no doubt can exist that in ancient times lahveh wa& 
the object of an idolatrous worship. He was oftem 
represented under the form which Egypt had rendered 
dear to the least enlightened Israelites,* that of a 
golden calf.f Sometimes he was given the attributes 
of the serpent ; J at other times lahveh was a plated 
image,§ or the winged disc flanked by the urceus^ which 
is so common in Egypt, and which is never missing in 
a single Phoenician monument. || I am inclined to 
believe that the %irim% of the symbols employed by 
the Israelites** was nothing but these two «ra?M5,tt 
which form an essential part in the great Egyptian 
symbol of the infinite. Both were called collectively 
ha- Ourim or ha- Ourdim^ the two ourim ; or else one was 
called urim^ the other thummwiy a word the meaning of 
which when thus employed completely escapes us. 
These figurative images of lahveh were callcdephods^ Xt 

* Exodus, ch. xxxii. ; Deuteronomy, ch. ix., v. 21. 
t First Book of Kings, ch. xii., v. 28, 29. 

I The nehustini, or brazen serpent, Second Book of Kings, ch. 
xviii., V. 4. 

§ Isaiah, ch. xxx., v. 22. Real meaning of iiSN and rnSM. 

II Mission de ZVienicic, index, words fjlohe aile and uraus. 

U D'»"Tlwn. First Book of Samuel, ch. xxviii., v. 6 ; Numbers, 
ch. xxvii., V. 21. 

** Hebrew seals, vide p. 126. 

tt The word ovpalos is Greek and cannot be used in the argument. 
But the Egyptian word was mv or rmVy which was probably 
pronounced Ord'it or Orah 

IX Judges, ch. viii., v. 27 ; ch. xvii., v. 5 ; ch. xviii., v. 14, 17, 18, 
20 ; First Book of Samuel, ch. xxiii., v. 6, 9; ch. xxx., v. 7 ; Hosea, 
ch. iii., V. 4 ; Isaiah, ch. xxx., v. 22. The passages in the Book of 
Samuel seemed too broad in the epoch of orthodox Judaism. They 



DEVELOPMENT OF MATERIALIST lAHVEHISM. zij 

like the robes of the Levites, surplices fastened round 
the waist by a belt, which the officiating priests wore 
during service. It is not known how thia double 
signification arose. The idolatrous object, formerly 
known under the name of epiiod, was of metal on a 
wooden frame.* The official ephod, if we may so term 
it, was in the ark, always at the service of the levi^ or 
of the cohen ; but it was sometimes taken out. It 
could not have been large, for it was easily carried in 
the hand.-f Beside, private individuaU who were 
sufficiently rich had ephods made for them and used 
them for their personal profit.J 

The ephod in fact, in addition to representing 
lahveh, had a special use, that of being employed in 
divination and in oi-acles. In certain circles of 
Israelitish opinions lahvch was a god to be consulted 
in order to know the future and to obtain useful in- 
formation. Tho patriarchal El was also consulted. 
He placed himself in communication with man by 
means of dreams and prophets. § But the patriarchal 
age had nothing which resembled a direct consul- 
tation with God. lahveh, on tho contrary, was a god 

were toned down in ecveral copicB, hence our present Hebrew 
text. The Greek tranelutors have kept to the nncient version in 
all its simplicity. 

* JudgcB, ch. viii., v. 27; ch. xviii., v. 18; Isainb, cb. kxx., 
V. 22. 

t Esseatiol passages, First Book of Samaol, ch. xiv., v. 3 and 
following ; ch. xxiii., v. 4 and following. 

i Exumplex of Uikali and of Gideon. 

g First Book of Samuel, ch. iiviii., v. G; Job, ch. 
v. 15. 



of fate, resemblmg tbo Temple of Fortimo at Preneste, > 
answering ?/es or Jio to the questions put to him.* 

It is probable that the idea of the real presence of 1 
lahvch on the ark, between the wings of two cheru- 
bimf forming a podeetal and serving for his throne, J 
had been in existence since the days of the wandering I 
in the desert. To this ark came those who wanted toi 
consult him. t The only form of process then known. ■! 
was the ordeal, and the judgments given took merely I 
the form of answers to those who came to question J 
God.§ Nothing important was done without thsl 
familiar genius of the tribe being consulted. But! 
nevertheless matters were not loft to chance. "With i 
the Israelites, as with the Greeks, the oracles were ] 
confided to the care of the wise men. What we should ] 
call imposture was then considered merely the faithful 
interpretation of the wishes of the tutelary deity.|| 

When the tribes were formed lahveh was above all 
the counsellor of the nation. The sers'ants of lahveh. ■ 
in those days of eclecticism were the persons who had 1 
an ephod and who knew how to tnm it to accounL I 
The proper names into which that of lahveh enters 
as a component part are to be found hardly any- 
where else than among these strange people. Thus \ 



* First Book of Samuel, ch, x., 
t First Book of Samuel, ch. iv. 



', 4 ; Second Book of Samael, I 



ch. vi., V. 2. 

I Exodus, ch. xiiii., v. 7—11. 

§ ExoduB, ch. sviii., t. 16 aud following; Kumbera, ch. xxvii., 
V. 2, 5 and following ; Judges, ch, i., v. 1. 

II Even Mesa undertook nothing without having firat spoken to J 
CamoE. Imcr., lines 14, 82. 



DEVELOPMENT OF MATERIALIST lAHVEHISM. 227 

Gideon and his family appear to have been par- 
ticularly attached to the practice of the ephod. The 
same may be said of Mikah or Mikaiahou.* lahveh 
was the great oracle of Israel. Of a truth this power- 
ful god was revered by all; but he had a special 
following of families more devoted to his worship than 
the rest of the nation. These first saints of lahveh bore 
no reputation for moral purity or real piety. They 
waited on the idol in whose name they returned 
answers, which were received with such profound re- 
spect. There is nothing to prove that they were in the 
least superior to the other Levites who wandered 
through the country. 

* See pp. 266 and foUowiDg, pp. 288 and following. 



CHAPTER Tl. 



THE OEiCLE OP lAHVEH. 



now were these consultations of lahveh, in which the 
most sagacious eye could certainly not yet have divined 
the least germ of the future, conducted ? They were I 
conducted often by lot, or by choice, which was ren- 
dered significative," or by fortuitous indications, by I 
signs which the priests interpreted as they liked.f j 
In the event of w/v'mj being employed there was su; 
to be some fraud in the affair on the part of the '. 
vites, who placed themselves, owing to their suboi 
dinate situation, in the hands of the chiefs of i 
people. As in the sor/es prwncstiiKV, some skilful trici 
was played.§ The motive power remained invisibloij 
and the divine tremolo had all the appearance of spoiM 
taneoua production. 

It has never been ascertained by what mechi 
the oracle was rendered. Some have supposed that I 
draught or a backgammon board was used, and that uri 
and thummim were dice. This theory is not inadm 
eible, firstly, because of the expression *'cast lots'' 

* First Boole of Siiuiuel, cb. xiv., v. 10. 
t First Book of Samuel, cb. k., v. 20 end following; ch. zivJ 
T. S6 and following. 

X D"'"nHn bElffa^bMa?, Numbers, ch. xxvii., v. 21. 
§ First Book of Samuel, ch. xiv., v. 20. 



generally used for these kinds of oracles," and secoudly 
because of the manner of interrogating lahveh : "in 
such a case give urim, in such another case give 
tkuminimf'^f (which answered to the two technical 
expressions iasa, "gone out," and nilfcad, "was kept 
in,"{) to announce the result. Perhaps the two ur(eus 
of the winged globe, meaning, one yes, the other no, 
were put in motion by means of a spring eoneealed 
behind the disc. It was naturally the priest who 
worked the instrument and who replied to the ques- 
tions. It is remarkable that in all the cases of con- 
sultation, the answers of lahveh were very brief. § 
The question was asked in a sort of yea or nay manner, 
which hardly allowed for any hesitation.|| 

An expression, however, which opens up another 
order of ideas is the following term employed ; " The 
affair is before lahveh," meaning that "the affair 
is accepted by lahveh."^ It would seem as if in 
this method of consultation lahveh turned away or did 
not turn away his face fi'om the object which was 
placed before him, and that it was concluded from 
the movement of the idol that the matter would or 
would not have a happy issue. Egypt, where these 
aberrations no doubt had theic origin, did not act 
otherwise. The judgments of God by yea and no were, 

* FiiBt Book of Samuel, ch. siv., v. 41, 42, 

+ Same paseage corrected by the Greek. 

X FamUiariy : " T!ie aHair is hung up before lahveh." 

g First Book of Samnol, ch. xiv., v. 87. 

II First Book of SaniLiel, cb. xiv., v. 41. 

H Judges, cli. xviii., v. 6. 



■JO 

at this epoch, the basis of Egyptian life.* The god 
who was consulted replied by moving his arms or 
head, nnd even by word of mouth.f These conjuring 
tricks were performed by means of complicated 
mechanism. J 

We Gee that nothing is more obscure than tha 
apparatus by means of which lahveh was consulted ; 
Qotiiing is more certain than the fact of this consulta- 
tion itself. The urim and the thummim were considered 
as tbe property and as the title of honour of the family 
of Levi.§ In every difficulty which arose the au- 
thorities went and interrogated the oracle of the ark, 
and the oracle answered-H Political difficulties and 
civil prosecutions were terminated in this way. This 
was called " interrogate lahveh," " come and search 
lahveh," " present oneself before lahveh," '* draw near 
to lahveh,"^ expressions synonymous to '* carry the 
affair before lahveh." Some expressions seem to in- 
dicate that the reply of lahveh was sometimes made by 
word of mouth ;•• but the date of these expressions is 
uncertain, 

.p. 4- 



* E. Navillo, huer. de Pinodjem, iii. (Paris, 

t Maspero, liecueil de travaux, t. L, p. 167. 

J Hero of Alexandria, Pneumatica H Autai 
vrurrs of Thevenot, pp. 167, 191, 192, 266, 2 

S DeateroQomy, ch. xsxiii., v. 8. 

II NnmberB, ctt. xsvii., r. 21 ; Jadgea, ch. 
of Samnel, ch. x., v. 20 ; ch. liv., v. 36 ; cl 
xxiii., V. 9; cli. xxviii., v. 6; ch. xxx., v. ' 
Bomuel, ch. ii,, v. 1. 

H First Book of Samuel, oh. xiv,, v. S6 ; Exodus, cb. xxi, 
oh. sxii., V. 8. 

** JoshoR, oh. iz., V. 14. 



la, in the ilathein. 
;, 267, 273. 



Second Book of 



THE ORACLE OF lAHVEH. ^^^ 

It was the judgment of God,* with all its dangers; 
but it 13 doubtful whether the Israelites appEed it, as 
was done in the Middle Ages, in criminal cases. Even 
limited to civil casea this superstition might have been 
terrible in its consequences had it not been confided to 
the chiefs and wise men of the nation, who dictated 
the reply of the priests, and consequently that of urim 
and thummim. In like manner tho oracle of Delphi 
was always, so it appears, inspired in a way to favour 
the interests of Greece. What the material and sacer- 
dotal oracle, which played heads or tails with the 
destinies of Israel, obviously threatened was prophecy. 
This wag a most dangerous competition. The turn- 
stile was about to annihilate intelligence, the levi. was 
going to kill the nabi^ the official oracle was going to 
stifle the free inspiration of Israel. 

A serious abuse, in fact, was that private individuals 
who were rich enough to have an ephodand to pay for 
a Levite, had a domestic oracle of which they made use 
for their own profit. There were many instances of 
this abusc,t though the ark kept them within cer- 
tain limits. The ephod of the ark overshadowed 
the other ephods. It lost a good deal of its own 
importance by the construction of the temple. It was 
out of the question to allow all those who wished 
to consult lahveh to enter the holy of holies. At a 
lat^r date the reform of Hczekiah did away with this 
barbarous custom. Tho victory of tho spiiit of pro- 

* ExodoB, ch. sxii,, v. 8. 
t Judges, ch. xyii., xvUL 



>3> HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

pheey was complete. One of ita effects was, without 
doubt, to throw into the shade this remnant of the 
ancient superstition of Israel. 

However, did the cphod entirely disappear under 
Hezekiah, like the nehustaii ? That is not probable, for 
in the restored worship of the sixth century we find 
something which can only be considered as a trans- 
formation. The most characteristic sign of the rich 
and elaborate costume devised for the high priest, 
was a large breast-plate composed of twelve preeioufl 
stones, on which were engraved the names of the ■ 
twelve tribes of Israel. Without explaining mattors 1 
as clearly as it might do, holy writ confounds thifl . j 
breast-plate with the ancient ephod, and places ther^'| 
in a rather obscure manner, the urim and thummimA 
Perhaps the upper part of the breast-plate contained'! 
the winged disc and the urteus.* This is what was 1 
called the oracle.t The fact that Aaron wore thoJ 
Oracle of Israel on his heart gave general satis-J 
faction.J This had no longer a practical meaning,{f 
and offered no danger. The old sacrament waftJ 
nearly worn out, materialised, and converted into an | 
ornament for the cope jewel. The official rite had-.l 
suppressed it by monopolising it.§ Keligious imagi*| 
nation knows no bounds. This breast-plate oracl*'! 
gave rise to the belief that the spirit of prophecy wasf 

* See p. 229. 

+ Aoyiov or Xoyttioi' of the Greek translators. See Oesenina A 
regards the expression uStPan IWJl- 
I EsoduB, ch. sxv-iii., v. 29. 
g Numbers, eh. xivii, v. 21. 



I 



THE ORACLE OF lAHVEff. ijj 

plated, if we may so express it, on the breast of the 
high priest. Hence the popular idea that the high 
priest was a prophet once a year.* 

Thus urira and tlmmmim came to an obscure end. 
In the fifth century B.C. it was not clearly known 
what the ephod, tirim, and thummim were. 

In questions which could not be solvedj the persons 
interested were put off until a priest could come to 
judge by urim and lhummi?n.f There was a sort of 
irony in this, as if one were to say now, "That will 
not be clear until the judgment of God is kno'R'n." 
The latest editors of the historical books effaced many 
traces of ancient materialism. The Alexandrian trans- 
lators of the Bible, well acquainted with Egyptian 
customs, were very much struck with the little 
baekgammou-board of precious stones which the chief 
judge in Egypt wore round his neck, hanging down 
his breast, and which in the era of the Ptolemies was 
called Aleihia.X They rendered urim and thiimvim 
by At;\uiffis KoX aXt'iBfia. They assumed them to have a 
kind of allegorical meaning. They confused the machine 
for delivering oracles with tho backgammon-board of 
precious stones hung on the breast of tho priest. 

All analogy, it wUl be seen, leads us to look for tho 
origin of urim and thummim to Egypt. But it is 
not necessary on this account to suppose that they 
were borrowed direct. Tho influence of Egypt was 



• St. John, ch. ] 
t Ezra, ch. ii., ■s 
i Diod. Sic, i., 



63 ; Nehemiab, cb. i 
p. 48, 76. 



S34 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

felt througliout the whole of Phcenicia. The ephod of 
Israel may have been copied from the divining 
utensils of tho Phoenicians and the Philistines, who 
may themselves have copied them from Egypt. These 
superstitions arc, unfortunately, only too easily handed 
down from one people to another. Uriiii and thummim 
were therefore to Israel what the K!aaba was to 
Islam, The Kaaba was a remnant of paganism which 
Mahomet did not daro to abolish. Nor did the 
Jewish monotheism daro to do away entirely with 
the old ephod ; but it subordinated it and submerged 
it, 80 to speak, in the midst of tho symbols of a 
triumphant monotheism. 

The god-oraelo was at the same time the god of 
vows and oaths,* especially of temble oaths, where 
people swore extermination and vengeance as if to 
fortify themselves against any temptation to show 
pity. Every oath taken to laliveh meant a kind of 
vow ; lahveh revenged himself, if he was called upon 
in vain ; then his oracle was silent ; and the silence of 
the ephod was regarded as a sign of wrath on the part 
of lahveh ;t the criterion of truth no longer existed, 
lahveh was essentially a god of truth. He could not 
suffer his name to cloak the slightest inaccuracy. 
This redoubtable Zvus Orkios saw nothing but tho 
material fact ; degrees, extenuating circumstances, had 
no weight with him. He was ferocious when robbed 



* Exodns, ch. xsii., v. 10. 
t First Book of Samuel, ch. siv„ 
to Oreek. 



V. 36 and following, according 



THE ORACLE OF lAHVER. 135 

of the quantity of blood which was due to him. 
Human eaerifices were much more common in Israel 
during the period of the judges and the fii-st kings 
than during the age of the patriarchs. Old father 
Abraham, filled with justice, humanity, and kindness, 
was succeeded by a just and inflexible god. 

Morality, in its absolute sense as superior to gods 
and men, did not exist. The personal tie created 
between God and man by the vow and the oath 
replaced everything. It in some way resembled those 
conditions which children, in their games, make among 
themselves. Such and such things were forbidden, 
not because they were bad iu themselves, but because 
they were tabooed in a way which removed them from 
tie world below and surrounded them with an atmo- 
sphere of ten'or.* A deep feeling of rancour appeared 
to be the prevailing sentiment of this god, too 
capricious to bo a just judge. 

What was the popular conception, at this epoch, of 
the relation between these two divine names, lahveh 
and Elohim ? It would be diffieult to say with cer- 
tainty. It is probable that the use of the word 
lahveh gained ground every day.f Elohim, however, 
was preferred in proverbs, in the maxims of parabolic 
philosophy, which doubtless existed already iu a 
rudimentary fashion. The word lahveh was never 
employed in this literature, because it related to an 
ideal anterior to lahvehism. Sahaoth was seldom 



* Joshua, cb. vi., v. 26, 27. 

t The Song of Deborah, Judges 



s]6 HTSTORT OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

employed. Often the two words Sabmth and Eloh 
were added to lahvcli, in this form : lahveh-Sabaoth, 
lakveh-Elohim.-f The expression AJonat-Iahveh, "n 
lord lahvth," was merely respectful. The expression 
lahveh ihhe Israel, *' lahveh god of Israel," expressed 
the truth. Elohim and Sabaoth were for the whole 
human race ; lahveh waa for Israel only. To be sure 
on the other side of the Amon they likewise said 
Cantos Mohe Moab, " Camos god of Moab." 

The rude analogies upon which primitive theology 
was constructed naturally led to the formation of a 
celestial court of lahveh. The sons of God were as- 
cribed to him,} He had a general-in-chief of his 
armies,§ a sar-saha, a scraekier, who was sometimes 
met, a naked sword in his hand, and who was 
approached in trembling. Far more important still 
was the angel or messenger (JUalcak) charged at first 
to carry the orders of lahveh, and who soon became 
grand vizier, and shared the powers of lahveh. From 
a very early age, in fact, lahveh had at Jiis side a sort 
of double-self, who was called Makak- lahveh ; it was 
like his counterpart, his alter ego. The Phrcnician re- 
ligion presents ideas nearly similar. The visage of 
the god is distinct from the god himself.|| "What is 
more, the Mahal:- lahveh of the Hebrews may well have 

* Second Book of Samut'l, ch. vi,, Y. 2; eli. vii,, v. 27. 
t Second Book of SRmuel, ch. vii., v. 22, 26. 
} Job, ch. i., V. 6; ch. ii., v, 1. 
§ Joshaa, ch. v., t. 14. 

II bl?3^E■ 80 frequent io Carthage ; the D^S of the Arninaio 
inBcriptionB. 



THE ORACLE OF lAHVEH. 

his counterpart in the Maleak-Baal, the Maleak-Aatoret 
of the Phoonician epigraphy.* It is by no mcana sure 
that the Moloch or Milk of the Canaauite religion 
does not owe its origin to a similar 8ource,| which 
appears to have in Egyptian theology its origin and 
its explanation. According to this theology, the in- 
fluence of which was so great in the Canaanitc region, 
the double of the god was the god himself. One finds 
at Thebes invocations to the double of Ammon. Else- 
where the double of Chons figures instead of Chons. J 

The Malcak- lahveh is often only " a man of God "§ 
sent by lahveh for some definite object. In most eases, 
however, the Maleak is not to be distinguished from 
lahveh himself-ll At a more recent epoch this gave 
rise to a very singular abuse. Some pietists of Judah 
found fault with certain passages of the ancient books 
in which lahveh acted as a man and compromised him- 
self in vulgar adventures. They made a rule, in such 
cases, of substituting Maleak- lahveh for lahveh. The 
angel of lahveh was the divine agent in all cases where 
lahveh was brought into contact with man. 

Tho Samaritans and .the Jews of Alexandria, 
Joscphus and the Judco- Christians, exaggerated still 
more this theological mania. They managed in nearly 

• Corpus inner, srmil., part l, Nos. 8, 123, 147, 149, 195, 880. 

+ "jbo perhaps for "TUba, as alL in Arabic for dlL., eapeciftlly in 
tho Koran. 

] Cliampollion, Moiium,, t. i., pi. Ixzxiv. ; Maepero, In tho 
JWufil, t. i., p. 156. 

g Vision of Alanonb, Jailgcs, cb. xiii., v. 2 and following. 

II GeueBis, cb. xvi., v. 7, 18 and following. 



ijS HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

all the old narratives to substitute for God this IdiS 
of second person of God. The "name " played a siir 
lar part. The name of the person was the pcra 
himself.* Tlie word sem became thus an equivalent 
for Iahveh,t especially among the Samaritans.^ One 
easily perceives how the theories of the Word and of 
the Trinity sprang from this sort of language. It 
was the commencement of that hypostatic theology 
into which Semitic monotheism plunged in quest of 
the variety and the life which were denied to it for 
want of a mythology .§ 

Sometimes these hypostatic divisions went still fur- 
ther : lahveh appeared inseparable from his haherim 
or maleakim,'^ and as one of them. Whtle travelling, 
especially, he liked to shake off his other self, allowing 
himself to he received, lodged, and fed. To those who 
found it strange that lahvch should thus cat and 
drinlt, the answer was that it was not lahvch but his 
maleakim. The real form of lahveh, in fact, was 
never human. IIo was a kind of dnigon, roaring 
thunder, vomiting flame, causing the tempest to howl ; 

* Eiodu§, ch. xsiii., v. 21 ; First Booi of Kings, ch. lii., v. 
2 ; ch. viii., v. 17, 20, 29 ; Second Book of Kings, ch, Ui., v. 27 ; 
Isaiah, ch. xxx., v. 27; Fsalm liv., and frequently in other 
FsalmB. 

+ Geseniua, Thn., p. 1433. Compare the name ST:;C7 for 
STin't perhnps CETQ for n'na. 

X The Samaritans always substituted KCC? for the word mn^. 
The Jews also wrote DtUn for riin'', 

§ Sea Oritrines ihi Christ! aniante, i,, p, 257 and followiag; v., 
p. 415 ; \i., p. 64 and following, 

II Genesis, ch,, sis,, v. 1. 



I 



THE ORACLE OF lAHVEH. 139 

he waa the universal rouah under a globated form, a 
kind of condensed electric mass. lahveh acted like a 
universal agent. He ate the sacrifice at the moment 
that the flame devoured it. In that ease the flame was 
often spontaneous ; it licked up the moraels of the vic- 
tims stretched upon the rock and made them disappear. 
Sometimes two large nostrils were dilated over the 
smoke of the sacriflce in order to inhale it.* On other 
occasions the god was seen to ascend from the flame of 
the sacrifice ; ho disappeared in the tongues of fire 
which leaped from the altar. t Then man had in 
rcaUty beheld lahveh and was sure to die.J 

But it was not rare for lahveh when he wished to 
reveal himself to men to employ disguises. He became 
Proteus or Vertumnus. Then he was peculiarly 
quarrelsome. He was to be met with in the deserted 
parts of the country which he preferred, he attempted 
to kill you, he thirsted after your blood.§ Or else one 
fancied that one was struggling with him in a night- 
mare. One perspired and exhausted oneself against an 
iinknown force. This lasted all night long until dawn 
broke. Then one awoke enervated, having struggled 
against lahveh or his Maleali:.\ This is what happened 
to Jacob, and hence no doubt the expression Ahir Jakob, 



* Genesis, ch. viii., v. 21. 
t Judges, cb. xiii., t. IS aud folIowiDg. 
% Jadgoe, ch. vi., v. 22 and following; cli. siii., 
foUowiug. 

§ EKodua, cb. iv., v. 21 and foUowiag. 
)| OeneBiB, cb, xxxii., xxxv. 



240 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

" the strength of Jacob, or Ahir I^ael^^ to indicate 
God. The Maleak was the fiction by which the shape- 
less or deformed being entered into the order of 
formed and visible beings. The general rule was, 
when the presence of Maleak was suspected, to furnish 
him with a copious repast.t 

In general lahveh was impalpable, invisible. It 
was difficult, under the caprices of this strange electri- 
form agent to foresee that lahveh would one day 
become a just God. The lahveh of the time of the 
Judges had scarcely anything of the moral god about 
him. He chose certain people ; he loved certain men ; 
his preferences could not be explained. He was very 
inferior to the ancient Ehhim. If we compare the 
religious condition of the nomad children of Jacob or 
of Isaac with that of the tribes of Israel at the epoch 
we have reached the difference is extreme. It re- 
quired centuries of progress for lahveh to love good, 
to hate evil, and to become a universal god. Let us 
put our trust in the genius of Israel, in the persistent 
recollections of the age of the patriarchs, and the latent 
action of the pious examples of Pater- Orchamus. Let 
us put our trust above all in humanity, which always 
gains its end, has the power to transform what it 
loves, and eventually succeeds, by dint of beating the 
air, in extracting from the senseless urim and thummim 
some atom of justice and of truth. 

* Genesis, ch. zlix., v. 24 ; Isaiahi oh. i., v. 44. 
t Abraham, Gideon. 




1 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE JUDUE3. 

If, upon their arrival on the banks of the Jordan, among 
the Arhoth-Moab, at Jericho, the Israelites had been as 
dense in numbers as the Moabites and the Edomites, 
they would certainly have imitated those nations, -who, 
having obtained fixed dwelling-places, chose kings 
for themselves. But the situation of Israel was 
quite diflferent. The tribes made isolated efforts 
to gain a position in the midst of the Canaanitea. 
The wars of Judah, of Ephraim, and Manasseh 
were undertaken without any unity of action. The 
want of a single chief was greatly felt. Beligious 
centralisation did not esist. They still lived on 
what remained of the patriarchal elohism, greatly 
adulterated by the superstitions of the worship 
of lahveh, especially by an abuse of the oracles of 
the ephod. 

The ark had no fixed resting-place. From Gilgal 
it was carried to Bethel,* a town already holy and 
whose holiness it increased ; then to Shiloh, where 
it appears to have remained a long time. Shiloh, 
owing to its central position, was nearly becoming a 
* Jadgea, ch. x., v. 26 and following. 




«4» HISTORV OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

capital for Israel.* But there was no scruple fell 
in moving this eacred piece of furniture ; it w^| 
like the carroccio of the Italian towns of the Middle J 
Ages, the palladium of the nation. The arkJ 
was taken campaigning at the risk of losing it. I 
Often it was placed under a tent ; hut after the end I 
of their nomad life this mode of shelter appeared J 
insuiEcient. It was generally lodged in the house of I 
some person of rank, who thus hecame its guardian,' 
The idea of constructing a special house for the arkl 
ought to have occurred to the tribes, but they were s 
unsettled, so poor, so precariously established in the! 
country, that no one mooted this idea. The establish-4 
ment of the ark, with its ephod and its divining appa— i 
ratus, nevertheless formed a kind of temple, which 1 
was called hct ha-elo/iim, " house of God."t 

The ark, besides, in the olden time, did not playJ 
the exclusive part attributed to it. It gave notorietyi 
to the place where it was, but it did not over-f 
shadow the opposition made by other places in the 1 
name of their private interests. We shall see Ma— 
nasseh, Gilead, and Dan creating places where lahveh I 
could be consulted in duly established form. Private J 
ephods were set up and obtained great success. It J 
required, however, no great sagacity to see that th&i 
ark was the centre of the nation and the generating ■ 1 
point of monotheism. The ark of Israel was a thing I 

* Frequently mentioned in Judges, Joshua, and First Book of I 
Samuel. 

t Judges, oh. xviii., v. 81, 



THE JUDGES. 143 

unique iu its essence. It never occurred to anyone 
to create a second ark. Even when Jerusalem mono- 
polised the ark, the kingdom of Israel made other 
eanctuaries, but never a private ai'k. The talis- 
man which they called nehustan was unique and 
the most undoubted heritage of Moses; the ark, 
evidently, was supposed to date back to Moses. It 
consequeutly could have no double, which privilege 
was uot shared by the ophod. 

The persons engaged in the ark were limited to 
some Levites skilled in the manipulation of the 
ephod; the sacrifices continued to be made by the 
heads of families upon improvised altars* of stoue or 
turf. These sacrifices were offered up no matter 
where, according to circumstances. The high places 
of the former inhabitants were preferred by the 
children of Israel.f The contagion especially of the 
Canaanite sanctuaries was strongly felt. Baal and 
Ascra were adored in various places.J The evil 
Moabite worship of Baal-Phegor, a kind of priapism, 
seduced the least pure.§ The Baal-Bcrith of Sichem 
was almost as much respected by the Israelites as 
their own Iahveh.|I The name of Baal, by whit-h the 
Canaanites delighted to style their god, inspired no 
feeling of repulsion at this epoch. In the same 

* Judges, ch. a., v. 6; ch. Jixi., v. 2 and following; Exodoa, 
ch. XX., V. 24, 26. 

+ Deuteronomy, ch. xii., v. 29 and following. 

X Judges, cb. ii., v. IS and foUowing. 

§ Numbers, ch. xsv. 

II Judges, ch, viiL, v, 83 ; ch, ix., v. 27. 



Ji^ 



14^ HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

family an* found liaal and lahvob the one used as often 
U8 the other in the composition of proper names.* 

Tho nahia in Israel, at that remote epoch, enjoyed i 
importance. Tho urim and thummim were too power- 
ful rivals for them. The religious confusion may be 
laid tu have beunaa complete as possible. A few pro- 
phetic individualities appear to us, it is true, greatly 
ottudhed to the worship of lahveh. Deborah, if the 
text of hor song has not been tampered with, was im- 
pressed with tho idea that the misfortunes of the people^ I 
above all tho wars, were tho consequences of infidelity 
and tho hankering after strange gods.f But the pas- 
Bogo in question appears to have been altered.J The 
dciingH of Gideon, of Mikah, of the Oileadites, of tha.- 
Uauitt'S of the uurth, show us how loose and how ill* 1 
regulated religion then was. Most of the tribes held 
laliveh to bo tlte tutelary deity of Israel ; lahveh was 
almost tho only god from whom oracles were demanded; 
but they gave liim for companions tho gods of tha i 
country ; Ihey called upou Baal and Milik at the s 
time that they called upon him. They adored thittfl 
god, already irritable aud jealous, upon the open-ai 
altars defiled by the natives ; they associated him witkl 
impure rites. Did they even always know whethotj 
tho sacrifices were addressed to lahveh, to Baal, or tO'] 
Milik? These words were almost synonymous. In a 
this, as one can see, there was nothing which foretolA 

* Fomiliefl of Gideoti aud Saul: larebaal, Esbanl, MQkiBiia. 

t Judges, cb. v., v. 8. 

X Bee after, chapter is.., zi., xii. 



THE JUDGES. a+S 

an intellectual religion. The images, or rather the 
utensils of wood and of metal which were used for 
divination, became the object of a shameful traffic. 
The Lcvites who perfonaed the service were persons 
of a very low order of morality. 

There was as yet no centralisation in this rude 
worship.* Victims were offered to lahvch and he was 
consulted at Bcthel,t at Shiloh,J at Gibeab of Ben- 
jamin, § at Gilgal,|| at Mizpah of Benjamin, ^f at Mizpah 
of Gilead,** at Dan, and no doubt in the temples of 
Ebal and of Garizim beyond Sicheiu.ff Gibeah of 
Benjamin was a particularly mysterious place. The 
elohim dwelt there; it was called GibeahUa-Elolim^XX 
" the hill of the gods." There was a high place there 
frequented especially by the prophets. It seems diffi- 
cult to distinguish between the worship which was 
paid there to lahveh and that which was paid to 
Elohim. 

The festivals were rejoicinga which bore reference to 

* Judges, ch. svii., v. 6 ; ch. xviii., v. 1 ; cb. ssi., v. 24. 
t Judges, ch. xs., v. 18, 2lj and following; ch. xxi., v. 2 aud 
following ; First Book of Samuel, ch. x., v. 3. 

I JudgoB, ch. xii., V. 12, 19, 21. 

g First Book of Samuel, ch. x., v. 6 ; ch. xxi., v. 0. 

II First Book of Samaol, ch. viL, v. 16 ; ch. s., v. 8 ; ch. xi., 
V. 14 and following; ch. xv., v. 12, 21, 83; Hosea, ch. xii., 
V. 12. 

H Judges, ch. xx., v. 1,3; ch. xxi., v. 1, 5, 8 ; First Book of 
Maccabees, oh. iii., t. 46. 

** Judges, cb. x., v. 29, 34 ; Hosea, ch. xii., v. 12. 

It Deuteronomy, ch. xxvii. ; Joahoa, ch. viii., v. 80 — 85, 

II D^nbun n3733. First Book of Samuel, ch. x., v. 6 and 
following ; Second Book of Samael, ch. xxi., v. 6. 



246 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

the various phases of agricultural life. The sowing in 
spring, the harvest, the grape-gathering, the shearing 
of sheep, furnished occasions for meeting and for 
amusement,* in which religion, as throughout all 
antiquity, had its place. The offerings were free, each 
one brought what he could, beasts from his herds, 
loaves of bread, skins of wine or of milk.-f People 
ordinarily went to the most revered sanctuaries to 
celebrate these festivals, which resembled pilgrimages 
without any established rules being observed. 

Eeligion was, so to speak, personal. Each family 
had its sacred anniversaries. The new moons were 
accompanied by the ringing of bells and by feasting, 
and the feast was always preceded by a sacrifice.^ 
Nothing bore a greater resemblance to free worship, 
such as it has been represented by the author of the 
Book of Job.§ Each family had its household gods or 
teraphim^ which were like large wooden spatula, rudely 
sculptured, and which, dressed out in woollen blankets, 
had the appearance of men or rather of busts.|| All 
religions had nearly the same external forms and the 
same rules, especially as regarded the state of qods^ or 
purity necessary for observing them. Several pre- 
cepts, which were afterwards supposed to have been 

* First Book of Samuel, ch. xxv., v. 2 ; Second Book of Samne!, 
ch. ziii., V. 28 and following. 

t First Book of Samuel, ch. x., v. 8. 

X First Book of Samuel, ch. xx., v. 5, 18, 24. 

§ Job, ch. i. See parallel passages First Book of Samuel, ch. 
zx. and xxi. 

II First Book of Samuel, ch. xix., v. 18. 



THE JUDGES. 

revealed to Moses, existed at that time. Nob, for 
instance, just to the nortli of Jerusalem, was the centre 
of a little Lcvite worstip ■which greatly resembled that 
which, was consecrated at Jerusalem. All this was 
anterior to the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan, and 
constituted that old religious stock in trade to a 
certain extent indigenous to the region, which sur- 
vives all reforms, and which never changes. 

Although definitively established on the soil Israel 
in reality continued to lead a nomad life. The family 
was the only group which existed. What distin- 
guished the nomad tribes from those which had been 
nomad was their hatred for central government. Not 
alone did the Israelite nation, as a body, fail to recog- 
nise any federal authorit}', but each tribe lived in a 
sort of anarchy, very much resembling the condition 
of the Arab tribes of to-day, where the life and the 
property of the individual are sufficiently pro- 
tected by the solidarity of the members of the tribe, 
although there was hardly anything to represent the 
public weal. 

Judah had its chiefs. Ephraim had its chiefs. 
Every tribe bad a principal or central point. The sar- 
saba, or chief of the army, the safer,* or recruiter, had 
only temporary powers. The military organisation, so 
powerful at the time of the passage of the Amon and 
of the Jordan, had evidently dwindled away. The 
armament was poor, the war-horse had not yet been 

* Bong of Deborah, Judged, ch. v., v. 14 ; Second Book of 
Kings, ch. isv., v. 19- 



H8 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

imported from Egypt, tlie chariots of iron wen 
wanting. 

It was not that the activity of the race was no( 
always intense. It spent itself in conquests by detail/ 
Very prolific, the children of Israel spread like a dro|iri 
of oil ; they gained every day on the Canaanites by^ 
their power of procreation. But the military qualitieB 
which the people possessed, from the time they left 
Egypt until the end of the epoch which, rightly or 
wrongly, passes under the name of Joshua, had nearly 
entirely disappeared. 

In presence of unfriendly neighbours a nation thni 
nnproTided with institutions could not fail to experi-J 
enee reverses. The Philistines especially, a littlfi 
warlike and feudal people, cantoned in five or six very 
strong places, Gaza, Asdod, Ascalon, Gath, Ekron, 
were very dangerous neighbours for peaceful Israel, 
When the tribes of Israel found themselves too hotly 
pressed they had recourse to temporary federation,! 
which produced for the moment military unity.i 
The transitory chief, designated by a kind of secre 
inspiration by lahveh, was called sofet, " Judge.'*! 
This was the name which the Canaanite towns, which. J 
had no royal race, gave to their consuls.* The He»l 
brew sofet resembled in every way the Eoman dietator«J 
Only the theocratic idea which is at the bottom of allj 
the institutions of the Semitic people attributed 



* Suffetes (magiBtratia) of Carthage, 8eo Cuijiua inscr. •« 
part i., t. i., Nos. 124, 132, 143, 165, 176, 199—228, 278, 367— J 
871, espeoially 802. 



I 



THE JUDGES. 149 

religious character to this chief magistrate. The sofet 
was at once the chief elected by God and the inspii-ed 
prophet. His authority was absolute, and, as always 
happens in the East, was shared by his family. But 
the necessity of centralisation was not sufficiently 
felt to lead to the creation of an horeditiirj'' power.* 
Israel f retained this trace of its Bedouin origin in 
not tolerating any durable power. Family life, 
without any fised government, was always its 
ideal. 

Authority is generally regarded by the Arab as a 
vexatious tie upon his actions, and he desires to have 
the least possible of it, because he does not know how 
to moderate it, and because he does not see what good 
it does the community. "Where such a state of mind 
exists powers are of short duration, but as long as they 
last they are cruel, terrible. The judge, during his 
magistracy, was a tyrant without a standing army or 
an organised government. Limited power, even in 
its principle, has never been understood in the 
East. The &ofet was a very feeble sovereign, but 
the powers be possessed he could exercise in an abso- 
lute manner. A constitutional sovereign possesses 
more extensive powers, but cannot exercise them in 
an absolute manner. 

These governors formed an almost uninterrupted 

' It is rcmnrkftble tbnt in the very ancient list of the kings of 
Edom contained in Genesis, cb. xxxvi., no king is the son of his 
predecessor. 

t Especially Israel of tbo north, the fme Israel. 



chain,* they required only succession from father J 
to son to form a real dynasty. One cannot under- 
stand this phenompuon of '* spontaneous emergency *' 
until one has studied the manner in which a man is ] 
elected among the Arabs to play the part of com- 
mander. This election is due neither to descent, nor j 
to suffrage, nor to invcetituro derived from an over-l 
lord, nor to violence. It is accomplished by a kind 
of indication due to the superiority of the man — 1 
to his ascendency, to his strength, and to his courage I 
in war. It was very rare for a man thus invested with ] 
a power duo to peculiar circumstances to be deprived | 
of it before his death.f 

Writing was not yet common among the Israelites ; 
there was no sort of order lu their affairs or admi- 
nistration. Even the traditions are very indistinct. 
The memory of a nation as regards history is always 
very sliort. It is a general rule of criticism that there 
exists no history properly so called before writing.. 
People remember only fables. The myth is tha I 
history of a time when people could not write* j 
Endowed with little talent for inventing mythologicalu 
creations, the Israelites made up for it, as the Hebrews - 
in the age of the patriareh.«, by ancplgraphtetil monu- 
ments, heaps of witness, piles of stones, destined 
to serve as information for the future. Tho names 

* The chronology, t«ken from the Book of Judges, is very 
doubtful, and ia in contradiction with the First Book of liinga, 



f I do not, of course, apeak of agitators like the Uahdia, who 

resemble prophets and not the so/flm. 



THE JUDGES. 251 

given to certain places, to certain long-lived trees, 
like the pine, were also ath (signs) or monimenla 
after their manner. Certain customs also had the 
reputation of aiding the memory and of keeping alive 
recollections. But all this was very vague, and led 
to confusion. 

The popular songs constituted a much more sub- 
stantial testimony. In the same degree, in fact, that 
a nation is ineapable of retaining any precise facts like 
those which history loves, in like degree its memory 
was apt, before the age of jpriting,* to retain rhyme 
and song. It was thus that each Arab tribe, without 
the aid of writing, formerly preserved the whole Divan 
of its poetry; it is thus that the ante-Islamite Arab 
memory, appealed to in vain for any precise bit of 
historical information, preserved, until the men of 
letters arrived from Bagdad a hundred and fifty years 
after Mahomet, the enormous poetical treasures of the 
Kitab el-Ag/tdm\ of the Moallakiii, and other poems of 
tie same kind. The Touareg tribes of the present 
day furnish phenomena of the same description. f 

Israel thus possessed a very fine unwritten literature, 
as Greece retained, during three or four hundred years, 
the whole Homeric cycle in its memory. One may say, 
in fact, that the unwritten literature of each race is 
the best which it has produced. Studied composi- 
tiona never equal spontaneous literary productions. 



L 



• Plato, ritteilo. 69. 

t Hanoteau, Gramm. Tamachek, Parie.lBQO; Poesies populai 
de la Kiibylie da Jurjura, Paris, 1867. 
VOL. I. I 



252 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

At a later date these songs, committed to writing, 
proved the pearl of Hebrew poetry, as the old Arab 
songs formed the really original portion of Arab litera- 
ture. The finest pages of the Bible came from the 
lips of women and children who, after each victory, 
received the conqueror with cries of joy and to the 
sound of the timbrel. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



Epic tradition placed in these early timea the in- 
vasion of the King of Mesopotamia, Cusan Eiseata'im,* 
who subdued Israel. A certain Othoniel, nephew of 
tho legendary Caleb,! is said to have delivered the 
people of Iahveh4 All this episode is plunged in the 
region of fable. 

The story of a very early collision between Israel . 
and Moab appears to be much more authentic. Eglon, 
King of Moab, seems to have rendered Israel tributary. 
An enterprising man of the tribe of Benjamin, named 
Ehond, of the warlike family of Gero, killed Eglon 
by Bui-prise ; then, at the head of the Benjamitea 
and the Ephrairaites, beat the Moabites at the ford 
of the Jordan, near Gilgal.§ 

A certain Samgar, son of Anat,|| was so/ef during 
a period disturbed by the Philistines. People attri- 
buted to him fabulous exploits resembling those of 

* Tho meanitig of these words is not clear. 

I Beo p. 205. 

i Judges, ch. iii., v. 7—12. 
5 Judges, eh. iii., v. 12—80. 

II Judges, ch. ill, y. SI ; ch. v., v. 6. 



SS+ HlSTORr OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

the mythical Samson, osploita which perhaps had 
their origin in a popular song no longer extant.* 

Jahin, the Canaanite King of Hazor, hitterly op- 
pressed the Israelitish tribes of the north.t Hazor J 
was the centre of a tolerably powerful Canaanite state, 
embracing all the southern portion of Lake Houle, 
which then, as to-day, is dry during a portion of 
the year. These plains were propitious for the 
use of armour-clad chariots. It appears that Jahin 
had nine hundred of these formidable vehicles. Ilis 
power extended over the plain of Jezrael, where 
the effect of these chariots was more terrible still. 
His sar-saba, or general-in-chief, Sieera, appears to 
have been a skilful man of war. He was the lord of 
a powerful fief which the Israelitee called Uuroaet- 
haggoim. Perhaps even he became the successor of 
Jabin.§ 

Now there was a prophetess called Dehorah who 
judged Israel in those days. The position of women 
in the patriarchal tribes was not at all what it after- 
wards became, when life in the harem, dating from 
Solomon, had entirely debased morality. An alleged 
sister of Moses, named Miriam, assumed at that period, 

* JndgeB, ch. lu., v. 81. The words -ip3n TsVan E)'H 
niHU was appear to be tha second port of a distiob in which was 
hyperbolically related the triumph of a eimple agricolturist otbt 
PhiliBtine worriorfl. 

t Judges, cb. iv., v. 2 and follow'mg; Joshua, cb. 21., v. 1 and 
following. 

} The §ite of Hazor is ntjcertain. 

% There is no mention of Jahin in tbe Song of Deborah. 



m^ 



L 



in the legend of the flight from Egypt, a part the 
nature of which it ia difficult to gather from the 
Scriptures, as they now read.* Some women were 
their own mistresses, disposing of their property, 
choosing their hushands, performing all the acts 
of a virile existence, comprising prophecy and 
poetry. It was the same among the Arabs. The 
stories told concerning the existence of the tribes 
before Islam mention several Deborahs, uniting the 
functions of chief and of poet. The anecdotes relative 
to these heroines formed an essential part in the epic 
cycle of the nation.f Islamism itself crowned with 
a halo Hind, the daughter of Otbah, who sang, at 
the head of a choir of women, at the battle of Ohod, 
and greatly contributed towards the victory of the 
believers. 

The inspired daughter of Israel usually sat under a 
palm-tree, which was called the palm-tree of Deborah, 
between Eamah and Bethel, and the Israelites went 
to her to learn the judgment of God. The prophetess, 
like all the patriotic women, was devoted to the wor- 
ship of lahveh, and considered, it is said, as criminal, 
all religious innovations, all the leaning of the 
people towards the worship of Canaan.J Deborah 

* Remark MicrJi, ch. vi., v. 4. 

t Amrab, daughter of Amir, Hind, daughter of Khouaa, Hind, 
daughter of Otbah, Sedjah, the prophetess of Moseilama [Barbier 
deMeynard]. 

I Song, especially v. 8. The lesson is very doubtful. After all 
this idea docs not much exceed that expressed by the King of 
Meza in his inscription, lines 5, 6 : natfO E7a3 ^iNTl '3. 



256 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

took in hand the deliverance of her people. She seat 
an order, in the name of lahveh, to a certain Barak, 
son of Abinoam, of Kadish in Naphtali, to assemble 
the !N'aphtalites and the Zabulnnitcs at Kadish and then 
to march upon Tabor. She herself arrived, bringing' 
with her the men of Ephraim, of Benjamin, and of 
Manasseh this side of Jordan. The tribes beyond Jor- 
dan, although summoned, the maritime tribes of Dan 
and of Asher, did not move. Judah and Simeon were 
perhaps occupied for their own part in struggling 
against the Philistines.* Besides at this epoch they 
almost always formed a separate band.f 

This great muster of the forces of Israel at the foot 
of Mount Tabor alarmed the Canaanites of the Upper 
Jordan and the Plain of Jezrael. Sisera hurried there 
with the troops of the kingdom of Hazor. Tanach 
and Megiddo, which were Canaanite towns, also took 
up arms against Israel. J It is probable that the army 
of Israel marched from Tabor on the rear of their 
adversaries. Sisera came to their rescue. The battle, 
in fact, was fought near the brook Eishon, close 

to Megiddo. Sisera was totally defeated. It seems 
that the heavy rain,§ which may have hampered the 
chariots and which swelled the streams of which the 

* They are not mentioned in the Song. 

t Bemark the omission of the feats of Judah in the Book of 
Judges, the name of Israel claimed by the kingdom of the north 
after the schism, the absence of Judah and of Jerusalem in the 
inscription of Meza, &c. 

X Song, ch. v., V. 19. 

§ Song of Deborah. 



DEBORAH. 



157 



Kishon is formed, was prejudicial to the retreat of the 
Canaanites. 

Sisera endeavoured, with the remains of his army, 
to reach the north. The Israelites pursued him. Tho 
men ofMcroz,* ill disposed towards Israel, favoured 
his flight ; hut the Israelites found allies in the 
Kenites who were encamped in the vicinity of Eadish. 

These nomad Kenites, who since the flight from 
Egypt had always been on good terms with Israel, 
were also at peace with Jabin. But the desire of 
pleasing Barak carried the day, and it was a Kenite 
woman who procured for lahveh what was most dear 
to him, the death of one of his enemies. 

Sisera, running on foot, arrived at the door of a 
Kenite tent. The husband was absent; the wife, 
named Jael, invited the fugitive to enter, and con- 
cealed him with a mantle. Sisera asked for a little 
water. Jael opened a skin of milk and gave him to 
drink. Sisera being weary fell asleop. Then Jael 
took one of those large pegs used for pitching a tent, 
seized a hammer, and smote the peg into the temple 
of Sisera so deeply that it went through the temples 
and fastened them to the ground. Shortly afterwards 
Barak arrived and was much pleased at the sight. 

Upon that day Deborah and Barak tho son of 
Abinoam sang thus-t 

This noble song, written by the prophetess, was 

* To-day Bfaroua, between Saied Hnd Lake Hoole. 
t Here U. Uenan qaotes the eotire Song of Deborah, 
beqaeutly quoted &:om already. [Trjuisi.atob.] 



258 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL 

learned by heart, and became a model which was imi- 
tated in other songs of the same kind. It was after- 
wards written out and inserted in the Kitah eUAghdni 
of Israel. No doubt it then underwent a good many 
alterations. Some pietist reflections may have been 
added; several passages became obscure owing to 
the faults of the copyists ; but the originality of the 
old Hebrew sir shines out still, through all these 
mutilations, with unparalleled splendour. 



CHAPTER 15. 



FIBST ATTEMPTS AT EOTALTT. 
GIDEON, ABIMELECH.* 

Owing to the love of order and laborious habits of 
Israel, & great number of rich and powerful families 
were formed; but on all sides the nation, like an 
undefended town, was open to attack. It was impos- 
sible to found anything solid. Israel had not only to 
flght against the Canaanitcs, the Philistines, the Moah- 
ites, the Ammonites, "the dwellers in tents," as they 
were ealled, the nomad Midianites and Amalekites, 
but to repel the invasions of the Arabs of the great 
desert, known by the generic name of Boni-Quedem or 
Orientals (Saraeens), who came with their camels, 
especially after seed time, encamped in the open, 
and destroyed the growing crops, like a plague of 
locusts. They advanced as far as Gaza, where the 
Philistines stopped them ; then they returned to the 
desert, carrying away with them all the flocks and 
beasts of burden. 

These annual invasions kept the people in terror. 
They did not dare to fight in tho open ground. 
When the pUlagers arrived the Israelites barricaded 
* Judges, ch. vi. — is. 



26o HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

themselves in caverns or improvised fortresses in the 
mountains. From this epoch were supposed to date 
the fortified caverns and the masaday or hill tops 
covered with stones, which are so common in Pales- 
tine, and which on many occasions served the people 
of the plain as refuges against sudden invasion. 

A family of Manasseh, consequently of Joseph, that 
of Abiezar, which resided at Ophra, to the west of 
Sichem, near the lower slopes of Ephraim, assumed 
in this sad state of affairs a great importance, and 
nearly gave Israel that dynasty which would have 
realised its unity. These Abiezrites were very fine 
men, heroes, like unto the sons of a king. They 
were not exclusive servants of lahveh. They raised 
altars to Baal and to Asera ; they reserved their 
lahvehism for what appertained to lahveh, the 
oracles of the ephod. In acting thus they probably 
believed that they were doing him no more harm 
than the Latins or the Hemici thought that they 
were offending the Fortuna of Preeneste in honouring 
Jupiter of Latium or Neptime of Antium. 

But lahveh was always a jealous god ; he would 
tolerate no rival. There was a kind of struggle in this 
important Israelite family between the various tenden- 
cies into which the conscience of Israel was divided. 
Joas, the chief of the family, had an altar to Baal, sur- 
mounted by a large Asera in wood. Every day he 
sacrificed a bull upon the altar.* His eldest son, a 
superb and vigorous man, a regular gihhor^ was called 

* Judges, ch. vi, v. 25, 26. 



FIRST ATTEMPTS AT ROYALTY. 



Jerubaal (one who feared Baal), and was at first devoted 
to the worship of that divinity. It must be remembered 
that Ophra was in the midst of the Canaanite tribes of 
the coast. The great body of the population of that 
place worshipped Baal and Asera. The religious con- 
fusion was extreme. The Baal-Berith of Sichem still 
held its own in those parts against lahvch.* 

Motives of which we are ignorant induced Jarubaal 
to adopt the exclusive worship of lahveh. This con- 
version was afterwards attributed to a vision, and it is 
quite possible that in the case of Jerubaal, as in that 
related by Moses, there was some tangible fact. 
Jerubaal appears to have seen one of those apparitions 
of flame in which it was believed that lahveh revealed 
himself. One day while he was threshing his corn to 
save it from the Midianites who were ravaging the 
country he thought that he beheld lahveh (or the angel 
of lahveh). When an apparition of this kind took place, 
the best thing to do was to offer a repast to the Maleak 
in order to appease his hunger. ^ Jerubaal prepared 
a kid and some unleavened bread, and having placed 
the flesh in a basket and the broth in a pot he carried 
them under the pine-tree and offered them to Maleak, 
who said to him, "Take the flesh and the cakes and place 
them upon this rock, and as for the gravy pour it out." 
lahveh touched the meat and the cakes with the end of 
the rod which ho held in his hand. Then the fire 
issued from the rock, devoured the meat and the cakes, 

• Judges, cb. viii., v. 33; ch. is., v. 27. 

t See Abraham and his three guests, Qenesis, ch. xTiii. 



HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



and lahveh disappeared.* Jerubaal undorBtood thn 
he had seen lahvch, and was much frightened, for I 
believed that he wag going to die, as this god coiil^ 
not be looked upon face to face. lahvch rcassurai 
him, and Jerubaal built him an altar which he called 
lahvch- Salom, which existed a long time at Ophrah. 

From that moment Jerubaal became a fervent wor- 
shipper of lahveh. Now lahveh, as we have said, 
was a jealous god. He liked not the other gods, even 
the most patient. One night Jerubaal took ten of his 
servants with him and demolished the altar of Baal 
and the Asern which was on it. The next day there 
was a tumult in the town, and in the house of his 
father. They demanded from Joas the life of the per- 
son guilty of this sacrilege. Joas seems to have 
replied that it was the duty of the god himself to 
avenge the insult. Ilowevcr that may be, Jerubaal 
went over to the worship of lahveh, and thenceforward 
took the name of Gideon. He raised an altar to 
lahveh in the acropolis of Ophrah, and offered up a 
holocaust with the wood of the Asera which he had 
overturned. It appears that the Abiezrites followed 
his example to a certain extent."f 

The worship of lahveh was in some measure s]mony- 
mous to patriotiBm. Converted to the exclusive wor- 
ship of lahvch, Gideon became, like Deborah, an 
ardent champion of Israel. Later on we shall see the 
unity of Israel definitively accomplished by David in 

• Judges, ch. Kiii,, v. 20. 
t Judges, cb. vi., v. 84. 



FIRST ATTEMPTS AT EOVALTr. 



263 



tlie name of labveh. Every action on the part of the 
central power was accomplished in the name of lahveh, 
and it was not without reason that the book of the 
Tictories of Israel was called '* the book of the wara 
of lahveh," An opportunity soon presented itself to 
Gideon to serve his new god in the way which he 
liked. 

The Midianites, the Amalckitcs, and the Saracens 
invaded the plain of Jazi-ael, under the leadership of 
the two chiefs Zebah and Zalmuuna.* They found at 
Tabor some Israelites of good family, whom they killed, 
and who were related to the Abiezrites. Gideon 
assembled the Abiezrites, sent messengers throughout 
Manasseh, received the auxiliaries of Asher, Zabulon, 
and Naphtali, and, encouraged by divers signs, which 
assured him that lahveh was with him, encamped in 
the mountains of Gilboa, near Aiu - Harod. The 
Midianitcs were opposite to him, at the foot of the 
little chain of Moreh, called to-day Dgebel-Dahi. 
Gideon succeeded in putting them to flight to the cry 
of " For lahveh and for Gideon." 

The Midianites, instead of returning over the Jordan 
at the place where they had crossed it a few days before, 
diverged to the south-east, towards Bath-Sean, th.en 
towards the south, following the Ghor as far as Abel- 
Mehola. Gideon saw that he had not enough men with 
him to pursue them. lie made another appeal to the 
tribes of the north, and asked the Ephraimitcs, whora he 
had up to that time neglected, to join him, in order to 
* Theae may be imaginary names, like Oreb and Zeth. 




X64. HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

cnt off the Midianites from the fords of the Jordadi"^ 
The Ephraimitcs responded to this appeal on the part 
of Gideon, On leaving Abel-Mehola the Midianites 
split up into two bands. One passed the Jordan, under 
the command of Zcbah and Zalmunna. The other ■] 
continued to descend the Ghor in quest of the fords of J 
the south. The Ephraimitcs cutting across from the I 
east came up with this band near the lower Jordan, , 
and destroyed it in two places, which they called " the J 
rock of Orei," or of the crow, "the wine-press ofl 
Zeeb," or the wolf. The popular legend afterwards 1 
saw in the two names, Oreb and Zeeb, the names ofl 
two Midianite chiefs who had been slain at that place. "^ 
Gideon, however, with his vigorous Abiezrites, 
passed the Jordan on the heels of Zcbah and Zaimunua, 
and plunged into the valley of Jabbok. The Gadites 
of Succoth and of Penuel ought to have aided him. 
They did nothing. They even refused to furnish the 
Abiezrites with bread. The Israelites beyond Jordan ■ 
possessed little patriotism, or rather they were held ' 
in check by fear of the Bedouins. They refused to ' 
compromise themselves with dangerous neighbours ' 
against whom the tribes of tho west could not always 
protect them. Gideon pursued the Bedouins as far as j 
the road called "the dwellers of the tents," which I 
passed to the east of Nobah and Jogbehah. He beat ] 
them at Qarqor, then he pursued them and captured I 
the two kings, Zebah and Zalmunna. " What manner 
of men were those whom you killed at Tabor ? " asked 
he of Zebah and Zalmunna. " Men like you," theyj 



FIRST ATTEMPTS AT ROYALTY. 

replied ; " all were fine men, like a king's bohb," And 
Gideon said, *' They were my brothers, the sons of 
my mother. As Jehovah liveth, if you had not slain 
them, I would not have killed you." And Gideon 
said to Jether, his first-born, " Arise and slay them!" 

The young man hesitating to kill such heroes, Zebah 
and Zalmunna said to Gideon, " Rise thou and fall 
upon us, for as the man is, so is his strength." And 
Gideon arose and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and he 
took tho ornaments that were on their camels' necks. 
Ketuming by way of Penuel and Succoth, he cruelly 
punished the men of those two cities for their conduct 
when lie had passed that way the first time. 

The return of Gideon to this side of Jordan was a 
triumph. His height, his beauty, his strength pro- 
claimed him a king. The raid he had made with the 
Abiezrites into the Tery hcai't of the Arab tribes of the 
east had procured treasures for him. All the Arab 
tribes known under the name of Ismaelim* had greatly 
enriched themselves by commerce. The plunder cap- 
tured from them astonished the poor and laborious 
tribes of Israel. There were heaps of golden rings 
(«e^?»), collars and crescents for the necks of tho 
camels, earrings formed of a single pearl, rich purple 
garments for their kings. Gideon took a large part of 
tho booty for himself, the Abiezrites bad the rest. 
The Ephraimites, on tho contrary, displayed jealousy j 
Gideon had not called upon them until late. They 
were charged with the least advantageous duty of the 
* Jadges, cb. viu., v. 24. 



i6b HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE Of ISRAEL. 

campaign, that of pursuing the Midiantte stragglers who 
had been unable to repass the Jordan. They took no 
part in the pilhige of the great encampments of the East. 
Gideon sootlied them with soft words and flattered 
their vanity. "The gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim," 
he said, "is worth more than the vintage of Abiezer," 

This campaign of Gideon was one of extreme import- 
ance. The songs composed on this subject have not 
been preserved, but there was woven round it a legend, 
which has come down to us and which oan be com- 
pared with the finest episodes of tlie Greek epos.* A 
dream was related which was held to be symbolical. 
A cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, 
and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and over- 
turned it, that the tent lay along,"f The cake of barley 
bread was the Israelite agriculturist, already settled on 
the soil, managing, in spite of his poverty, to destroy the 
nomads who invaded his land. The \'ictory of Gideon 
was, in fact, a capital event in the history of Syrian 
Semitism. Tho Hebrew settler eventually won over 
those of his race who had continued the same mode 
of life which he himself had long led. Midianites, 
Amalekites, Ishmaelites, and Beni-Quedem, were con- 
fined to their deserts to the east and to the south of 
Palestine. The sedentary tribes managed to defend 
themselves on their own soil, even when they had not, 
like the Israelites, any permanent central power. 

Gideon appeared to be quite mai'ked out to give to 
of Lbe Book of Judges have an epio 



• TbQ cLaptei 
character 



their own. 
I Judges, ch. vit., 



.13. 



FIRST ATTEMPTS AT ROYALTY. 167 

Israel what it required in this respect. He was tall, 
robust, courageous. The campaign against the Midian- 
ites of the eastern desert had made him rich, and 
had procured hira royal garments. He possessed a 
numerous seraglio at Ophrah, and Canaanite concu- 
bines in several places, notably at Sichera.* It was 
reckoned that he had as many as seventy sons. 

Gideon seemed therefore fated to achieve what David 
did afterwards ; to create upon the one hand monarchi- 
cal unity and a legitimate dynasty in Israel, and on 
the other hand to fuse the Canaanites and the Israel- 
ites into a single race. But the worship of lahveh was 
at no epoch favourable to a royal form of govemment.f 
The system of the sofeiim, taken from the crowd by 
popular designation equivalent to the choice of lahveh, 
was much more in conformity with the spirit of that 
religion. Gideon replied to all the demands that he 
should accept the title of hereditary King of Israel, " It 
is lahveh who reigns over you." He, perhaps, per- 
ceived in time the difficulties which afterwards revealed 
themselves to the unfortunate Saul. It appears that 
upon this point the test of the Look of Judges is inten- 
tionally obscure. Tlic exalted idea of theocracy which 
it ascribes to Gideon scarcely corresponds with the ex- 
treme coarseness which he imported into his new reli- 
gion. The lahvehism of Gideon seems to have consisted 
for the most part in the superstitious practices of the 
ephod. Now these practices had little to do with tho 

*= Judges, cb. viii., v. 31. 

t First Book of Samael, ch. viii. 



268 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

principles of puritans and theocrats who had sworn 
hatred to royalty. 

Gideon was neither above nor below the religions 
ideas of his time, and several of his acts which ap- 
peared scandalous afterwards were found quite natural 
in his epoch. He wished to employ in a pious work 
a portion of the money which he had gained during 
his expedition, and he had an ephod cast with the gold, 
that is to say an image of lahveh, which could be 
used for delivering oracles. This ephod, set up at 
Ophrah, had a great vogue ; all Israel flocked thither 
in pilgrimage and for consultation. 

This was a crime in the eyes of the most recent 
lahvehists, who held that lahveh could be worshipped 
in one place alone, and that no material image should 
be made to represent him. But Gideon certainly did 
not believe that he was offending lahveh when he 
cast in his honour a symbol of gold like that which 
was contained in the ark. There were many other 
ephods of this kind belonging to private individuals.* 
The idea of unity of worship did not exist at that 
epoch. The ark was at Bethel or at Shiloh, that is to 
say, at a considerable distance from Ophrah and 
among rival tribes. Gideon was not, perhaps, so 
exempt from dynastic ambition as more modem his- 
torians wish to make out. He may have dreamed of 
creating round him a religious centre which would 
have been entirely under his control. We shall see 

* The deed of Gideon is not in any way related as an isolated 
crime. 



FIRST ATTEMPTS AT ROYALTY. 



269 



Jeroboam do the same thing, in an age when the ideas 
of centralisation were more advanced. The severity 
of the sacred historian comes from the fact that he 
had judged Gideon by the rules of another epoch. 
The lahveh of Gideon, however, bore no resem- 
blance to the lahveh whose worship afterwards pre- 
vailed. It was a sacrament of gold, worked by a 
mechanical contrivance ; it was above all a machine 
with which a great deal of money was made. The 
pilgrims, in fact, paid for an answer. It greatly in- 
creased the wealth of Gideon. 

His contemporaries did not blame him for construct- 
ing his ephod. He lived happily, died at a very great 
age, and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash 
at Ophrah. 

Gideon had so tmly exercised, among the Joscphites 
of Manasseh and Ephraim, an almost royal power, 
that his succession was disputed after his death as 
if he had been a king. His numerous family claimed 
to exercise, at Ophrah, the supremacy which the 
sofet of Manasseh had conquered. This soon pro- 
duced opposition. A bastard named Abimelech, a 
son of Gideon by a Canaanitc woman, who lived at 
Sichem, assumed a hostile attitude towards his bro- 
thers of Oplirah. A Ganaanite and a Sichemite on his 
mother's side, he became the champion of the preten- 
sions of Sichem and the tribe of Ephraim against the 
Abiezerites of Ophrah. The Sichemites gave him the 
money of the temple of Baal-Berith, whose rites be 
probably professed. With this money Abimelech 
u2 




170 HiStORT OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

raised a band of idle scamps, ready for anythinj 
who swore to live or die in his service. The 
crime which he caused them to commit was aimed 
his half-brothers of Ophrah. It is said that they wi 
ail slain with the exception of Jotham, who succeed) 
in hiding himself. 

Sichem was a mixed town, Israelite and Canaanil 
at the same time. Abimelech was, in a way, just 
man to be popular there. His name indicated that 
was devoted to the religion of Milik or Moloch, whii 
shows at least a great amount of eclecticism. The ti 
populations agreed to make him king. This royaltj 
which lasted for three years, remained almost escli 
sively Ephraimite, and was always disputed, even 
Sichem. The survivors of the family of Gideon nevi 
ceased to proclaim the unwoi-thiness of Abimelech 
to excite public opinion against this sham royalty^ 
Ilere is the discourse which the old liistoriun places 
the mouth of Jotham : — " Harken unto me, ye mt 
of Sichem, that God may harken to you. The tri 
went forth on a time to anoint a king over them : 
they said unto the olive-tree, Keign thou over 
But the olive-tree said unto them, Should I leave my 
fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, 
and go to be promoted over the other trees ? And 
the trees said to the fig-tree, Come thou and reign 
over us. But the fig-tree said unto them, Should I 
forsake my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to be 
promoted over the trees ? Then said the trees unto 
the vine, Come thou and reign over us. And the_ 



J 



FIRST ATTEMPTS AT ROYALTY, 



a?' 



vine said iinto them, Should I leave my wine, which 
cheercth God and mau, and go to be promoted over 
the trees ? Then said uU the trees unto the bramble, 
Come thoa and reign over us. And the bramble said 
unto the trees. If in truth you anoint me king over 
you, then come and put your trust iu my shadow ; and 
if not let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the 
cedars of Lebanon." 

This was eq^uivalent to saying that really useful 
people avoid the task of governing men, and that those 
alone do not hesitate to undertake the burden who have 
nothing in them, and who believe that they can escape 
from all difficulty by vaiu boasting. The hostile 
allusion to Abimelech was transparent. As a matter 
of fact that wretched improvised royalty rapidly fell 
into disrepute. The bandits of Abimelech began to 
practise robbery in the mountains, nor could Abi- 
melech hinder them. The Sichcmites grew disaffected. 
In the feasts which took place at the temple of Baal- 
Borith, after the sacrifices they denounced Abimelech. 
He left the city in order to settle at Aruma, two 
leagues from there, to the south-west, leaving behind 
him as his lieutenant a man called Zeboul. A certain 
Gaal, son of Ebod, a stranger but of great influence, 
placed himself at the head of the opposition, and dared 
to do battle with Abimelech. Abimelech defeated 
him, and took the lower town of Sichcm, upon which 
he revenged himself cruelly. The dwellers in the 
upper town, to the number of a thousand men and 
women, took refuge in the cellars of the temple of 



«7« 



OF ISRAEL. 



Baal-Berith ; Abimelech caused the cellars to 
covered with green branches, set them on fire, atu 
smothered all who were within. 

He then marclied against Thebez, four leagues f 
Sichem, towards the north. The inhabitants wit! 
drew into the fortified place in the middle of tli 
town. Huddled together on the roofs, they awaited^ 
their fate with anxiety. Abimelech approached the J 
gate to set it on fire, A woman then flung thi 
upper part of a millstone on his head and brofc 
his skull. Abimelech called his armour-bearer and] 
said, "Draw thy sword and slay me, that men i 
not of me, A woman slew him." So ended this £ 
and not very well-sustained endeavour to create i 
stable power in Israel. The incapacity of Abimelet 
was the main cause of its failure. One himdred and 
fifty or two hundred yeai's afterwards a man arose whtf J 
combined the warlike heroism of Gideon and the bold-J^ 
ness of his religious policy with the wickedness i 
Abimelech and his talent for suiTounding himself wiUu 
bandits. David was destined to prove a cleverer 8 
more fortunate Abimelech. Jerusalem was to accom*| 
plish what Sichem could not do. Judah 
succeed where Joseph failed. 




CHAPTER X. 



The tribes beyond Jordan, wbo were the first estab- 
lished, at an epoch when the idea of a common god 
for all Israel hardly existed, and who had, more- 
over, little to unite them with the rest of Israel, were 
more anxious than any of the others to have a 
special religion. The lahvehista of the west accused 
them of not belonging to the religion of the rest of 
Israel.* The fact is that these tribes had, beyond 
Jordan, t an altar of their own which the pui'itans 
afterwards imputed to them as a crime. It was pro- 
bably the old Gilead (heap of witness)^ upon which 
they had offered up sacrifices, libations, and feasts 
of alliance from the most remote antiquity. This 
ancient holy place was probably that which was called 
Mispa, or Miape-GUcad, or Ramot Mispd, or Ramot 
Gilead. There solemn oaths were taken. It was the 
religious capital of Trans-Jordan.g 

• Joabua, cL. xsii. 
t Joshua, oh. xxii., v. 10, 11. 
I Joahaa, ch. xxij., v. 84. 

§ Judgea, oh. i., v. 17; ch. xL, v. 11, 29, 34, See Hebrew 
dictionarjr, word liamoth. Note Bpecially Jadges, oh. xi., r. 11 : 




»7+ HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE Oh ISRAEL. 

The vast territory of the eastern half-tribe of 
Manasseh, that is to say of Bashan, was peopled 
slowly. This country possessed in reality no civilisa- 
tion before the first century of our era.* Here the | 
great coloniser was Jair, of the tribe of Manasseh, con- 
cerning whom tradition varies in a singular manner. 
Some make him out to be a contemporary of Hoses, 
others give him rant among the Judges. What they 
called Havvoth lair, " towns of Jair," corresponded to 
the Gaulonitide country east of Lake Genesareth.-|" 
It was a matter of doubt whether Jair was a real 
person or a geographical term. The legend or play 
upon words came in here. These cities, thirty in 
number_( sometimes there were twenty-three and some- 
times sixty), became thirty sons of Jair, possessing 
thirty towns (aidrim instead of the ordinary form j 
&rim). These thirty aidrim became thirty young I 
asses (aidrim), and the legend spoke of thirty sons of 1 
Jair mounted on thirty asses. There were no war 1 
horses or riding horses in those days, and asses wero i 
looked upon as very fit animals to ride. 

The most celebrated of the legendary heroes of | 
Gilead was Jephthah. He was a bandit, and accord- 
ing to some the son of a prostitute, according to others 
of a concubine, and consequently not in a condition to 



n'HT' ^aa*? nssa^' Ilamoth-Gileftd was eitualeU near where wb 
see tbe mine of Gadarc to-day. 

* WaddiDgton, Intci. grtc>nif4 et Int. lU SyrU, No. 2329. 

t Firat Book of Kicga, ch. iv., v. 18; Firet Book of Chronicles, 
oh. ii.. V. 21—28 ; Judges, cb. x., v. 8—5. 



GILEADITE LEGENDS-^JEPHTRAH. 

share the inheritance with the sons of his father. It 
will be remembered that such was also the case with 
Abimelech, and perhaps with David.* Solomon himself 
was a natural son. People had a tendency to suppose 
that there was some irregularity in the geneaology of 
great men ; "f this rendered their good fortune all the 
more striking. It has been the natural tendency of all 
ages to make out that their heroes were adventurers. 
Besides, Israel, even in its heroic legend, did not show 
itself imbued with a military feeling. The ideal warrior 
was not the regular head of the family, an eldest eon 
destined to succeed his father ; an illegitimate son was 
supposed to inherit more of the heroism of the race than 
the legitimate sons. The military hero was in general 
an outcast, forced to consort with vagabonds on account 
of being driven out of doors by his family. The anta- 
gonism which reigned between peace-loving Israel and 
the professional soldier began to show itself in this way. 
Driven out by his brothers, Jepbthah settled in 
the land of Tob, where he became the chief of a band 
of adventurers living on plunder. The land of Tob 
was the Ledja, that is to say that bed of lava of the 
mountain of Hor forming an almost equilateral tri- 
angle, thirteen leagues each side, the recesses of which 
have always served as a refuge for outlaws.^ The 
bandit enjoys his revenge when he is appealed to for 



* According to Botne he wus ttescended from ft poor Moabite, 
aad to others from Bahab the harlot. 

t See the clover remarks of St, Jerome on Matthew, ch. i., v. 5. 
\ It is the same in our day. 



«76 

help in the hour of danger. The Ammonites unceasingly 
threatened the Israelites of Gideon and of Bashan. It 
even appears that the enemy often passed the Jordan 
and beat the tribes of the west. An unusually fierce 
attack compelled the Gileaditcs to appeal to Jephthah, 
who was leading the life of a brigand in Ledja. It 
is said that they promised him the sovereignty if he 
would deliver them from their enemies. Jephthahj in 
fact, gained the victory and drove the Ammonites out 
of all the cities of Manasseh, Gad, and Eeuben, which ] 
they had occupied. 

The popular songs of the time attributed to thia war'l 
an episode which gained a gi-eat celebrity among ihi 
tribes, and gave rise to a good deal of poetry.* "AaiJ 
Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord and said, '. 
thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon 
into mine hands, then shall it be that whatsoeverj 
Cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, whei 
I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall'l 
surely be the Lord's, and I will oifer it up for a buj 
offering." And after the victory Jephthah came backl 
from Kispeh to his house, and his daughter camel 
out to meet him with timbrels and with dancee.! 
Now she was an only daughter ; an only chili I 
When he saw her he rent his garments and said,! 
" Alas ! my daughter, canst thou be the cause i 
my sadness. I have opened my mouth to lahveha 
and I cannot go back." And she said to him, "My I 
father, if thou hast opened thy mouth to lahveh,! 
* Judges, ch. ii., V. SO and following. 



GILEADITE LEGENDS.— JEPBTHAH. a 77 

do with me according to that which has proceeded out 
of thy mouth ; forasmuch as lahveh has taken yen- 
geance for thee of thine enemies, eveu of the children 
of Ammon." And she added, "Grant me this: let 
me alone two months that I may go up and down upon 
the mountains and bewail my virginity, I and my 
fellows." And he said, Go; and he sent her away for 
two months, and she went with her companions and 
bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And it 
came to pass that at the end of two months that she 
returned unto her father who did with her according to 
his vow which he had vowed : and she knew no man. 
And it was a custom in Israel that the daughters of 
Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah 
the Gileadite, four days in the year. 

These ballads, annually renewed, celebrated the tra- 
ditional incident on every occasion with new rites 
more and more dramatic* The narrative which has 
been handed down to us by the Book of Judges is one 
of the best arranged versions. The truth probably is 
that Jephthah, before undertaking a difficult war, 
sacrificed one of his daughters according to the 
barbarous custom put in practice on solemn occa- 
sions when the country was in danger. -f Patriarchal 
deism had condemned these immolations : lahvehiam, 
with its exclusively national principle, was rather 
favourable to them. Not many human sacrifices were 

* Compare the annual agadaa npon the Passover among the 
Jews and the FersiaD Teaziei, &c. 

t Second Book of Kings, ch. iii., v. 27. 



lyS HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

offered to God nor to the elohim. The gods whom they 
thought to propitiate by means of human sacrifices 
were the patriot gods, Camos of the Moabitps, lahveh 
of the Israelites, Moloch of the Canaanites, Melqarth 
of Carthage. 

Tantum geatis amor potuit suadere malornm. 

The daughter of Jephthah was probably not the* 
only victim offered up to lahvch before he became 
more lenient in the eighth century. Besides, it would 
be impossible to say, at this distance of time, to what 
extent lahveh reigned in the hidden recesses of Israel. 
The narrative of the Book of Judges represents 
Jephthah as a servant of lahveh. Possibly this waft^ 
so, but if it had been otherwise the writer wouldl 
not have held different language, his preconeeived| 
Byatem being that no victory could have been gained I 
by Israel without the aid of lahveh. In fact, thesej 
distinotions, so capital for us, were then ratha 
frivolous. If wo could ask Jephthah whether '. 
had sacrificed his daughter to lahveh, to Baal, or ( 
Milik, he would perhaps have found it difficult 1 



lahveh, indeed, became more and more synonymous 
with Israel. It was a maxim that the national god 
should not be distinguished from the nation.* What 
each nation possessed was what had been given to it by 
its god. The narrator of Judges makes Jephthah thus 
speak to the King of Ammou, " Wilt thou not possess 

* Ingcr. do Mesa, lino 12. 





GILEADITE LEGENDS.— JEPHTHAff. ayg 

tliat whieli Camos, thy god,* givoth thee to posaessPf 
WhomBoever lahveh shall drive out before us, them 
will we possess." This phrase rightly expresses the 
low idea which the national spirit of those little 
tribes had led them to form of the divinity. To 
despoil the original occupants who had cultivated the 
soil, in order to hand over the land to new-comers, 
objects of an undeserved preference, appeared fair 
play. In this donation of the god they saw a 
definitive title. How much greater, more just, and 
better was the god of the nomad who possessed no 
hrnd! 

The success of Jephthah excited the jealousy of the 
Ephraimites as it had already done that of Gideon. 
They complained that they had not been called to the 
war against the Ammonites, while it appears that it 
was they themselves who held aloof in the hour of 
danger. The Ephraimites invaded Gilead, probably 
close to Mispeh, and wished to bum the house of 
Jephthah ; but Jephthah completely routed them. 
The Gileadites occupied the fords of the Jordan, and 
when an Ephraimite presented himself to pass made 
him pronounce the word Shibboleth. The Ephraimites 
in fact pronounced the chuintante like a common " s " 
just as the Arabs do. Those who said Sibboleth were 
slain without pity. 

Jephthah after this victory exercised a certain 

* Sligbt badvertence of the wriler, Camos being the god of 
t Judges, ch. xi., t. 24. 



aSo HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

amount of authority over Israel. But he was only a 
soldier; he had no family or posterity. He did nothing ' 
to make his power last after him. 

The ancient lists of the Judges had been formed by 
placing one after the other the names of the oldest and 
most eminent men who were remembered.' After 
Jephthah came Ibsan of Bethlehem.f "He had thirty 
sons and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and 
he took in thirty daughters for his sons." J Abdon, 
the son of Eillel, had forty sons and thirty grand- I 
sons, and they rodo upon seventy a8Be8,§ He was j 
buried at Pirathon, in Ephraim, in the mount of the 1 
Amalekites. These lists, full of repetitions, have all i 
the appearance of having been learnt by heart, while ^ 
to aid the memory no scruple was made about resort- 
ing to the childish device of alliteration and punning.)] 

* Jndgee, cb. sii. The sab-titlea of tribes, sncb aa Jn'ir, Tola, 
Jec., were eometimeB Qsed. 

+ There can be no connection between this and the greater 
Bethlehem, Judab being scarcely mentioned in the Book of 
Judges. 

X Judges, ch, 3di., v. 8 and following. 

§ 8ee above, p. 274. 

[| For instance, i'i'jih buried to ilb'M, &c. 




CHAPTER XI. 



THE DANITES. — MYTH OF SAMSON. 

The combats against the Canaauitcs of Hazor, against 
the Ammonites, against the Midianites were sharp but 
short. The struggle with the Philistines was con- 
tinuous. That energetic little race of Pelasgians in 
all probability* came from Crete, and waa a redoubt- 
able neighbour for Dan and for Judah. 

Dan especially bore the wounds of this sword driven 
into the flesh of Israel with astonishing courage. 
Entrenched in a few strong places situated between 
Jerusalem and the sea, the Danites were merely en- 
camped in the country. It was the least solidly es- 
tablished of all the tribes. It had hardly shaken 
off its nomad existence. Its chief resort was the ma- 
kani or camp situated generally between Zorah and 
Estaol, hut sometimes elsewhere. A mahane of this kind 
was to be seen to the west of Kiijath-Jearim-f The 
Danites appear to have been accomplished brigands ; 
war was their habitual occupation. The laud round Zo- 
rah and Estaol was a kind of battlefield for the Philis- 
tines and the Israelites ; the two races were brought into 

* Genesis, ch. x., v. 14 ; Amos, ch. ix„ v. 7 and following, 
t Judges, ch. ziii., v. 25 ; cb. xviii,, v. 11 and following. 



k 



HISlORy OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



such cloao contact at this point that sanguinary coi 
flicts between them were inevitable. 

This really epic state of affairs, which lasted sevei 
centuries, produced a cycle of stories a portion of which 
alone has come down to us singularly transformed.* 
A fable was woven round the exploits of a certain 
man called Samson, the son of Manoah, of Zorah, a 
warrior of the tribe of Dan, of extraordinary strength. 
He took the gates of a city on his back and ciirried 
them several miles. He threw down n building 
by laying hold of two pillars and shaking them. 
He passed his life in fighting against the Philistines of 
his district, in performing feats of strength, in riddles, 
in stratagems. There were episodes to excite astonish- 
ment and episodes to excite shouts of laughter. His 
strength lay in the hair which covered his head. Ho 
was weak where women were concerned, and each act 
of treachery on their part found him defenceless. A 
Philistine woman put him to sleep on her knees and 
cut off his hair. Made a slave and the sport of 
the Philistines, he ended by killing them and himself 
with them. 

All this was related with numerous details which 
charmed the listener, Samson was for centuries the 
Antar of the Israelites. Afterwards when it became 
a question of inserting the story in Holy Writ, a 
story in many respects little edifying, it was touched 
up in an extraordinary way. The burlesque hero 
of Dan was transformed into a respectable judge 
* Judges, cb. xir., xt., xvi. 



THE DANITES—MYTH OF SAMSON. 



2Pj 



of Israel. It was announced that Samson like all 
providential men was born of a barren woman. The 
fact, originally of a nittnralist order, as to his strength 
lying in bia hair was explained by a vow. Samson 
was supposed to have been nazh-. According to the 
vow no razor was to shave his head. Through the 
devices of Dalilah the vow was broken, and the com- 
pact between lahvch and his Hercules came to an end. 
The scene of the whole epic of Samson is laid in 
the vicinity of a small place called IJeth-Semes, or Ir- 
Semes,* or Har-Hcres, about six leagues from Jeru- 
Balem.f The worship of the sun. Semes, which was 
the local worship of that country, together with the 
name of Samson (diminutive, like soli'culus, sun), gave 
birth to surmises which must be taken into account, 
though too much importance may easily be attacliod 
to them.J The ancient Hebrews had no taste for 
pure mythology. But they were not above traus- 
forming figurative creations ill understood into heroic 
anecdotes. Let us suppose in the temple of Beth- 
Bemes the picture of the sun in the shape of a bead 
surrounded by rays : this picture may well have been 
considered as the head of a warrior, whose strength 
lay in his locks (his rays);§ all the more so as tho 



* Equivalent to Heliopolia. 
t See RobinBon, ii., pp. 324, 



t The na 


Be DltBCtt? can very well come from the root OCC? 


6 liTXKpii {■f< 


,p»»,). 


% See cur 


oos heada of hair drawn by Doughty, Doc. rpii/i: 


reeiieillu dim 


i V Arable du Nord, pi. sli. 


VOt.. I. 


X 



i84 nrsTORy of the people of israel. 

Bun was often compared to a warrior.* The Phi 
tines (Carian and Pelasgian) may well have intro- 
duced the solar myths and those of Heracles ; but 
in order to establish a parallel between the arid 
legends of Israel and the mylhological creations a 
priori of the Aryans, it would bp necessary to have 
Bome more striking resemblance. 

The neighbourhood of the Philistines made the 
eituation of the tribe of Dan intolerable.f The Phoeni- 
cians of Jaffa, on the other aide, prevented them from 
possessing the fertile plain along tho sea-coast. The 
people of Zorah and Estaol decided upon emigrating. 
They sent spieg to study the general situation of the 
country of Canaan, and to find some weak tribe whose 
territory it would be possible to seize upon. The 
Danite spies found what they were looking for at 
Laish, J situated on the slopes of Mount Uermon, in 
tho midst of streams descending from the Panium. 
They there discovered a peaceable population living 
like the 8idonians,§ that is to say, by their labour, 
and not dreaming of war. There was no king in the 
neighbourhood to lend them aid,|| and the Sidonians, 
their congeners and their allies, could not defend them. 
The distance from Laish to Sidon in a straight lino 
was not groat, but the almost impassable region of tho 

■= pBalm six., V. 6. 

t Judges, cb. i., V. 34, and followiog ; ch. xviit., v. 1 ; Joebna, 
cb, xviii.. V. 8, 47 and following. 

I To-day, Toli-el-Kadi. 

g Judges, cb, xviii., v- 7. 

II I IbuB nnderstand the altered passage, v. 7: -135 for n!B. 
Iitimntk tho form of the V in the inscription of Siloab. 



I 



•8s 

Litani lay between the two cities. The spies at once 
considered the fertile land of Laish as belonging to 
their foUow-countrymen. An oraelo of lahveh which 
they went to consult conflrmed them in this opinion. 
The details of this curious consultation are recounted at 
length in a page which maybe considered as the most 
precious sketch of the morality of that distant epoch,* 

There dwelt in the mountains of Ephraim a man 
named Micah, a name which indicates a special devo- 
tion to lahveh. f The lahvehism of Micah appears to 
have resembled that of Gideon. Like Gideon, Micah 
had in his house an oracle of lahveh which brought 
a good deal of custom. Hia enemies, either then or 
later, spread the report that the images were made 
with money which had been stolen, and, what is worse, 
with money stolen by a son from his mother, with 
silver labouring under the maternal curse. However 
that may be, Micah had in his house an ephod and a 
teraphim J in wood and in metal, that is to say, a com- 
plete " house of God " like that of Shiloh. 

It was necessary to have a priest for this temple. 
For this Micah first ordained one of his sons, but he 
soon conceived scruples. It was, in fact, understood 
that divine service could be performed only by one of 
those persons, belonging to no tribe, who wandered 
among the Israelites, and who were called Levites. 

* Judges, cb, xviji., V. 13 and following. 

I If Ihia Dams bo not altered, tba meaning is "Who is Uka 
labveh?" Remark also tbe labvebist thoopbore names in tho 
family of Gideon, 

{ This word ia used in the singular, First Book of Samuel, 
ch, lis., V. 13, 16. 

x2 



286 HISTORY OF TBE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



One day one of these Levites passed through the 
village where Micah dwelt. Ho was a young man of 
Bethlehem of Judah. Like all the Levites, be was 
attached to a tribe, but he was almost a stranger to it,* 
He left Bethlehem, where he had no means of existence, 
in quest of a place where he would be paid to act as 
priest and soothsayer, Micah received him, hailed 
him father and priest, gave him ten shekels a day 
besides food and raiment, and took him to live in his 
house. Then Micah said, " Now know I that the 
Lord will do me good seeing that I have a Levite for 
my priest." The oracle acquired great notoriety and 
was very profitable to Micah. 

Now it happened that the spies of Dan, crossing the 
mountains of Ephraim, heard of the oraele of Micah 
and wished to consult it as to the good or evil issue of 
their undertaking. The Levite set the machine in 
motion and came out, saying, "The thing is before 
lahveh." The spies returned quickly and told this to 
their fellow-countrymen. An emigration was decided 
upon. Six hundred men set out from Zorah and 
Estaol with their arms, their families, and their docks. 
They halted at Kirjath-Jearim, and perhaps sojourned 
there. The emigrants afterwards ascended the moun- 
tains of Ephraim and arrived at the house of Mieah. 
The spies who had consulted the oracle then gave them 
a curious piece of advice ; it was to steal the instru- 
ments of worship, the ep/tod, the teraphim, the feselt 
the masse/ca, and to carry them away, seeing that in 
* Judges, cb. xvii., v, 7 ; eh. iviii., v. 80. 



THE DANITES^SrrTH OF SAMSON. 



.8, 



I 



the new settlement they were about to found they 
would have no sacred vessels. The Levite made some 
objections at first, but they pointed out to him that it 
would be better to be the father and priest of a tribe 
of Israel than of one man. He carried off the ephod^ 
the terapkim^ the fesel, the masseka, and took hta place 
in the middle of the band. 

The children, the cattle, and the baggage were 
placed in front, for they expected to be attacked in the 
rear. In fact, when Micah and his neighbours who 
worshipped lahveh at his religious establishment saw 
that the image had been stolen, they set out in pursuit 
of the Danites with great cries. " What aOeth thee 
that thou comest with such a company ? " asked the 
Danites. And Micah said, " Ye have taken away my 
gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone 
away : and what have I more ? and what is this that 
ye 8ay unto me, What ailoth thee ? And the children 
of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard 
among us lest angry fellows run upon thee and thou 
lose thy life with the lives of thy household. And 
the children of Dan wont their way ; and when Micah 
saw that they were too strong for him he turned and 
went back unto his house." 

The march of the chililren of Dan through the 
tribes of Israel was accomplished without difficulty, 
and it was the same with the conquest of Laisb. The 
Canaanites of these countries were peaceful and con- 
fiding people ; they had little to say to the kings and 
Bedouin tribes by whom they were surrounded, and 



I 



>8s mswnr of the people of Israel. 



Sidon was too far. They were all lua-saacred and their'] 
city was burned. This was odious in the extreme,'! 
But there is not a race whose ancestors have behayecl'^ 
better. 

It appears that the Danites had first of all the inten- 
tion of recommencing their nomad life, but the beauty 
and richness of the country made them change their 
minds. They gave up robbery, rebuilt the city and 
called it Dan. They installed there the ephod and 
the images which they had taken h'om Mioah. A 
Levite priesthood was established there for the service 
of the ephod, and, by dint of imposture, they succeeded 
in gaining over Gershom, a pretended son of Moses.* 
This lasted as long as the kingdom of Israel. The 
other Israelites abhorred the worship of the Danites of 
the north. They called the sacred image of Dan " the 
/esel which Mieah had made." They opposed to it, 
with all the pride of oi-thodoxy, the ark which was 
then at Shiloh-t 

Laish was no doubt not the only point of the region 
round Lake Huleh occupied by the Danites.J As for 
the Danites of the south they almost entirely disap- 
peared. All the energetic portion of the tribe went 
north ; what remained ended by becoming absorbed in 
the tribe of Judah. 

" Judges, ch. xvii., v. 7 ; ch. sviii., v. 30. On the addition of 3 
in nCDQ. aeo Dertheftu or any other commentator. 

t Judges, ch. iviii., v. 31, 

} The name of the Danite city Saalbm ie to be foand again in a 
Bb'ikiug manner in the present village of Scholaboun (see Mtsiion 
tU nUiiicu, pp. 677 and following). 



CHAPTER XIL 



THE CIVIL "WARS Of THE THIBES. 

It will be seen that not one of the wars of which we have 
spoken was general ; not one of the advantages pro- 
duced hy war extended to the whole of Israel. The 
children of Joseph often joined the tribes of the north ; 
Gilead formed a distinct division ; Judah hardly ever 
ranged itself with the tribes, and is rarely mentioned 
in the Book of Judges. Judah was scarcely comprised 
in the generic denomination of larael. 

The existence of the tribe of Benjamin was also 
very peculiar. Its territory was small and almost 
entirely occupied by the Canaanites, either allies like 
the Gibeonites or enemies like the Jebusitos. The 
Benjamites were little else than a special military 
corps, of a high cast as regards the use of the sling, 
their young men being accustomed to use the left 
hand instead of the right. Their strong place was 
Gibeah, to the north of Jerusalem. They were not 
liked, and their morality was said to be very low. 
The following adventure was related with horror ; — * 

A Levito of Ephraim, overtaken by nightfall when 

near Gibeah, left the road with his concubine to pass 

* Jadges, ch. xix, xx., xxi. 



I 
J 



290 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

into the city, and sat down in the street. No one 
invited them in until an old man, who was a stranger 
to the city, took them to his house. What happened 
then was monstrous and resembled the infamies of 
Sodom, It became necessary to hand over the concu- 
bine to the Benjamites. After having satisfied their 
lust during a night of debauch, the unfortimate woman 
fell dead at the threshold of the house where her 
husband had received hospitality. The Levite on 
opening the door in the morning found the dead body, 
placed it on his ass, and on reaching home cut it into 
twelve pieces, which he sent to the twelve tribes of 
Israel. 

It was very general in ancient times for great wars to 
be attributed to trivial causes, and sometimes these 
details, which appear surprising to us, were true. The 
affair of the Levite of Ephraim was, we are assured, the 
occasion of a general assembly of the nation at Mispeh, 
near Jerusalem, and of a sort of federal war against 
Benjamin. It is probable that there was some more 
serious cause for this attack. Nearly all the tribes 
hated Benjamin. It is said that a great many Israel- 
ites swore at Mispeh never to give their daughters to 
a Benjamite. The oracle of the ark,* several times 
consulted, recommended a war of extermination. 

The rock of Gibeah resisted heroically. The sallies 
made by the Benjamites were very deadly, and 
the Israelites only succeeded in taking the place by 

"'^ According to Judges, ch. xx., v. 26, 27, the ark was then at 
Bethel. It was probably at Shiloh. 



THE CIVIL WARS OF THE TJRIBES. 



surprise. They placed men in ambush near the city ; 
then by a pretended flight they drew the besieged 
away from the place. The men in ambush then took 
the city, and massacred every one in it and set it on 
fire. The Benjamites who were disseminated in the 
plain, turning round, saw the smoke going up to 
heaven. In their despair they fled into the desert. 
The confederates pursued them and killed them by 
thousands.* 

At Scla-Eiramont the fugitives defended them- 
selves for four months. At the end of that time the 
wrath of the tribes was appeased and the Benjam- 
ites were allowed to escape. It was supposed that all 
the women of Benjamin had been exterminated. In 
order to procure wives for the survivors of Sela-Einx- 
mon, and not leave a void among the tribes, the 
Israelites resorted to the most primitive devices.^ The 
legend had certainly exaggerated the extermination 
of Gibeah. Benjamin, far from disappearing, was 
soon to give Israel its first king; Gibeah was destined 
to become the city of Saul, and within its walls was to be 
exercised for the first time a central power iu Israel. 

A federal execution, similar to that which punished 
Benjamin, is said to have fallen upon the city of 
Gabesh-Gilead. According to the legend, the inhabit- 
ants of that city alone were absent from the sort of 
diet hold at Mispeh; they were all slain with the 

* Tbe exaggeration of this account will bo remarked. 
t To-(iay Bummon, two leaguea N.N.E. of Toloil-el-FouI. 
\ JudgQH, ch. xxi. 



exception of the "virgius, who were reserved to perpe- 
tuate the race of Benjamin. What is true in this 
story is that GLlead, or perhaps Gabesh in particular, 
lived apart, and entered for very little into the common 
work of Israel. 

Thus continued during two or three centuries the 
distinct life of a dozen families notoriously of the 
same race, fully aware of their relationship, but rarely 
united in a common action. The children of Joseph, 
always maintained their superiority. The signs of 
the future supremacy of Judah were still very 
obscure.* Genealogies had been established at a 
very early date, destined to show the unity of origin 
of the different families. The ancient names of tribes, 
Isaac, Jacob, Israel, Joseph, allowed of ingenious 
combinations, at the head of which always figured the 
High Father, the Ad-ram, identical with the Pere- 
Orcham, brought from Chaldffja. The very old name of 
Isaac furnished a son and immediate successor to the 
Ab-ram. The ancient names of Jacob and Israel were 
considered as one. All the tribes descended from sup- 
posed sons of Jacob or Israel. It is true that there 
"was something arbitrary in this choice. The 
powerful groups of Jair, of Machir, of Abiezer had 
quite as much right as Gad or Dan to figure in this 
list.t 

If not too critical, wo can make up the sacra- 
mental number of " twelve." Joseph was counted 



* JadgeB, ch. %%., 
t Machir figures a 



.16; GeneeiB, cb. xlix., v. Sand following. 
a tribe in tbe Song of Deborah. 



TBE CIVIL WARS OF THE TRIBES. 193 

double in the persona of his two sons, Ephraim 
and Manasseh. Two divisions were formed, it ap- 
pears, irrespective of relationship, the division of 
Levites and the warrior division, known by the name 
of Benjamin. The Levitcs had greatly nmltiplied in 
varioua tribes. People became accustomed to believe 
that they were descended from a son of Jacob named 
Levi ; they were called a tribe but they dwelt with 
other tribes and at thoir expense. The Beni-Jcmini, 
skilful archers and sHngers, were placed on the tops of 
the lofty hills to the north of Jerusalem. 

Thus Benjamin and Levi became two sons of Jacob, 
although the different Levites who wandered through 
the countiy were not bound by any parental tie. 
As tlie use and skill in handling certain weapons after- 
wards became, in antiquity, the appanage of special 
families, who handed them down from father to son, 
it cannot be asserted that the Beni-Jmninl did not 
originally form a family in the ordinary sense of the 
word. At all events it was admitted that a tribe 
could exist without territory. Levi had none, and the 
territory of Benjamin was confined almost exclusively 
to the hill of Gibcah. 

Eeuben and Simeon, whom it was soon difficult to 
discern from Moiib, Edom, and the Arabs of the 
desert, disappeared at an early period as tribes. They 
were considered, like that of Levi, as sporadic tribes 
dispersed through the rest of Israel. There were thus 
tribes in some measure ideal alongside of tribes 
totally extravasated, like Dan. The chief thing waa 



19+ HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

to ally oneself by tongue, by race, or by some 
link more or less authentic to the venerable Jacob 
of antiquity. 

Jacob was supposed to have had two wives and two 
concubines. Each tribe naturally endeavoured to 
trace its descent from the common father in the 
manner the moat honourable. Then a kind of classi- 
fication was made, favourable to some, unfavourable 
to otherSj in which the opinion of the powerful tribe 
of Joseph preponderated. Joseph and Benjamin, of 
the oldest aristocracy of Israel, were born of the 
dearly- beloved wife Rachel, under ciruumstances 
which made them privileged and favourites. Dan, 
Naphthali, Gad, and Asher were sacrificed and made 
to descend from the concubines. Aa there was a 
great deal of rivalry between the members of this 
family, anecdotes, often ill-natured, were circulated 
with regard to the true or supposed sons of the 
patriarch, and greatly afflicted their descendants. In 
the same way, in those country places where people 
are still simple-minded, they annoy one another by 
abusing the saints of one another's parishes. But 
it was chiefly among the Arab tribes, before Mahomet, 
in the Eiiab-el-Aghmi, in the divans of the tribes, 
that one must look for the intelligence of this age, in 
appearance so contradictory in Israel, The Arab 
tribes, although of the same race, hate each other 
cordially, and spread abroad the most odious calum- 
niea about one another. A collection has been made* 

* The Uaihaji-cMbiib in the Journal asiatii/tte, June, 1858. 



THE CIVIL WARS OF THE TRIBES. 195 

in which these inventions, sometimes obacene, are 
compared, embittered and commentated on. 

The love and the hatred of the tribes were also 
expressed in Israel in burning and passionate epi- 
grams. Sayings sometimes flattering, sometimes sati- 
rical, were circulated concerning each tribe. Those 
sayings have been handed down to us in the shape of 
blessings pronounced by Jacob* or by MoseB.t They 
are full of originality, although obscure, tampered 
with, often uniutelligible, based upon untranslateable 
puns. 

Zebnlan shall dwell at the hayen of the sea ; and be shall be for 
an haven for Bhipa- and his border shall be nnto Zidon. 

Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdena. 

That age of gold which became for Israel a kind of 
second ideal was never forgotten — the patriarchal 
ideal belonging to the pastoral life ; the ideal of the 
times of the Judges belonging to an agricultural and 
settled life. Those days were represented as an epoch 
of gaiety, of intermittent happiness, of pure morality 
often, of liberty always, when the individual, master 
of his land, not exposed to the abuses of a monarchy, 
lived in the state nearest to perfection, which was 
the primitive nomad state. As Israel never had any 
real love of royalty, this recollection of an era of 



'* Genesis, eh, xlix. 
\ Denterouomy, cb. 
Deborah. 



Compnre with the Song of 



296 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

the absence of government and of supposed theocracy ' 
always enchanted Ma imagination. A cycle of 
delicious pastorals ttes embroidered on this pleasant 
and tranquil canvass. The book of the Wan of 
lahveh and the Jasher afterwards absorbed nearly all 
those anecdotes, to which a happy mixture of idyllism 
and heroism gave a charm that the epic poems of the 
Greeks and the KiUib-el-Aghnni of the Arabs alone 
have equalled. 

The Book of Judges inherited that flowery style of 
poetry which the pietist proclivities of later ages did 
not destroy. This portion of the ancient historio- 
graphy was very little touched up. The episodes of 
Gideon, of Jephthah, of Samson, of Micah, of the 
Levite of Ephraim are admirable pictures, simple 
and grand, of remote antiquity, quite equal to the 
finest Homeric productions. A number of episodes of 
the same kind relating to Caleb and to the heroes of 
the south are lost. Others were manufactured at a 
later period and appended at Bethlehem to the family 
of David.* Upon reaching a more advanced state of 
organisation, Israel represented to itself that ago 
as one when it was happy, when at least it was young 
and free. This gave rise to an exquisite romantic 
vein. 

Komance requires, in order to expose its dreams, a 

country and an epoch which lend themselves to Action 

and furnish it with a luminous background which 

floods the picture in a kind of mirage. As among 

* Book of Ruth. 



THE CIVIL WARS OF THE TRIBES. 197 

the Arabs every anecdote was ascribed to the time 
of Haroun-al-Easchid, and as in the Middle Ages 
every tale which related to the time of Eing John was 
allowed ft peculiar licence ; even so it was sufficient 
to write at the head of a story, " Now it happened in 
the days when the Judges judged Israel," or, " It waa 
an ancient custom in Israel in the days of the 
Judges," to create for it a poetic halo,' and for the 
mind to be prepared for idyls and for talcs untram- 
meled by pietism. Every licence was atoned for if 
the passages which shocked modern piety were ter- 
minated by this formula: "And in those days there 
was no king over Israel, and every one did as seemed 
good in his own eyes." The time of the Judges thus 
became a continuation, as it were, of that of the 
patriarchs. The Book of Kuth is one of those rare 
pearls of literature when the simple expression of the 
reality suffices to shed over the whole story a flood of 
soft and glowing light. 

It is here that the Homer of the Greeks and that 
the Arab cycle is surpassed. Not a shadow of literary 
eflFort ; one grain of the most innocent fiction being 
sufficient for the ideal. No law but that dictated by 
the vague elohhn. Euth and Boaz are immortalised 
alongside of Nausicaa and Alcinous. The further 
humanity recedes from primitive life the more pleasure 
it finds in these charming contracts of modesty and 
artlessness, in manners at once simple and refined, 
when man, without obeying any superior authority, 
or law, or city, or king, or emperor, or religion, or 



298 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

priest, lived nobler, greater, stronger, than when fet- 
tered by a thousand conventions, and when moulded 
by successive centuries of discipline. 

Thanks to the Homeric poems, we have the picture 
of the life of the Greek tribes at an epoch parallel to 
that of the Judges. The analogy is striking. Although 
separated by a gulf in all that relates to ethnography 
and geography, the Grecian and the Israelite tribes 
bore stamped on their foreheads the same marks of 
poetic simplicity. The Greek believed in a greater 
number of divinities more entirely distinct than the 
Israelite. But their moral condition difltered little. 
The divine intervention in matters human and natural 
was continuous. Their ideas concerning sacrifice 
were nearly the same. The Greek God, however, 
identified himself more with his hierem than the 
God of Israel with his cohen. The idea of a tute- 
lary deity again was stronger among the Greeks 
than among the Israelites. The God of Israel 
was capable of becoming a imiversal God, and this 
cannot be said of the Grecian gods, even of Jupiter. 
One feels that Jupiter will never be able to kill his 
fellows, while lahveh was destined soon to have no 
rival. 

The ideas concerning oracles were the same with 
both races. The oath, especially that of extermina- 
tion, the hereni^ was more terrible among the Israelites; 
and therein lay a very dangerous germ of fanaticism. 
Human sacrifices were, with both, the sporadic rem- 
nant of an anterior evil. There was little difference 



THE CIVIL YrARS OF THE TRIBES. agg 

of religion ; no temple,' hardly any vessels of worsliip, 
the sacrifice was not separated from the religious feast; 
the share of the goda was set apart in a set form. 

The morality of the Hebrew in the days of the 
Judges, and of the Achean in the Homeric days, was 
much the same. The state of society was brigandage, 
and the hand of every tribe against his neighbour. 
Internally tho tie which linked the tribes together 
was very strong. A Danite would never slay a 
Danite, he would always revenge him ; but a Danite 
would ill-treat a Zebulonite, However, two Israelites 
would begin by recognising a bond of fraternity 
between them. As for a person who was not an 
Israelite, every member of the family of Israel would 
see in him an enemy. It was the same with the 
Greek tribes. The innate gentleness and humanity 
to be found in noble races already inspired some rules 
which the gods laid to heart. The gods were not 
very earnest in their efi'orts to make good prevail, but 
still they did so in a way, and there were crimes which 
they punished. The punishments were inflicted below. 
The souls of the dead were underground, in gloomy 
places, leading a life which greatly resembled nothing- 
ness. Sometimes they were successfully summoned 
up from there by giving them blood to drink. Was 
there any difference in their lot according to their 

* The temple among the Qreeka wah hIUI only the liigh place, 
rifitvos and /Sui^ios (hama, Hebrew and Phcecician). Cf. especially 
IliaJ, viii., 48; sxiii., 148; Oiiyiaeij,y»., 3G3. See fine reflection 
of Socrates, Xenophon, ilein,, III., viii., 10. 

TOL. I. Y 



L 



300 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

more or less guilt or innocence ? The tendency to be- 
Ueve in reward and punishment beyond the tomb was 
much deeper with the Greeks than with the Israelites. 
One feels that the idea of justice once awakened, the 
Israelite would like to see that justice rendered in this 
world, and that the Greek would more easily console 
himself for the iniquities committed here below with 
the dreams of the Phcedo. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



PR0GHES3 OF THE RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL ORSANISAnON 
OF SAMTTEL. 

The period of the history of Israel which we have 
just studied has no precise chronology. It is about 
1100 B.C. that we commence to catch a glimpse of a 
series of facts which henceforward iinrolled themselves 
without interruption. Through a thousand hesitations 
a real progress began to appear. Israel commenced to 
organise itself and to unite. Mispeh, the culminating 
point of the tribe of Benjamin, became the meeting 
place of the tribes, the Washington of the Israelite 
federation.* This mountain, which rises nearly 4,000 
feet above the level of the sea, on the horizon of Jeru- 
salem, was not made to serve as the site of a great 
city.t On the contrary, it was an excellent spot for 
those federal diets which were soon to assume a sacred 
character. The ark was never established there ; but 
the sofct was induced to make it his habitual residence, 
and no doubt the political importance of Mispeh had 
some weight in the providential selection of Jerusalem 
for such brilliant destinies. Jerusalem is only a league 

■^ Judges, ch. xs., 1, 3 ; cb. sxi., v. 1, 6, 8, 
t BobinBon, i., p. 457 and following. 
y2 



30J HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

from Mispeh and from the top of the mountain ' 
little acropolis (millo) of the Jebusites on the hill < 
Sion must have been visible. 

The power of the Judges increased every day. The ' 
relations of the tribes between each other "were more 
closely cemented ; the idea of the unity of Israel 
gathered shape. lahvehism became more and more the 
national religion. It is probable that the broad lines 
of sacred history were already traced in the Israelite 
mind without being written. The Israelites said to 
themselves that lahveh had saved them from Egypt 
and had promised them the full possession of the land 
of Canaan. The art of writing began to spread ; 
no books wore composed, but many things, for which the 
old mnemonic system had till then sufficed, were hence- 
forth traced in the clear and simple characters which 
the Sidonians found so useful. 

Shiloh became, at the same time, a kind of religious 
capital for the nation.* lahveh alone appears to have 
been worshipped there. The ark, after a long sojourn 
at Bethel, had been removed there, and every one went 
thither to consxdt the oracle. Tiiere were annual 
festivals, a kind of pilgrimage. People flocked to 
Shiloh as to a holy city from all parts of Israel. This 
was an immense step in advance. In Israel the ark 
was the centre of all movement, the initial cell of the 
organisation of the future, which in tmbri/ogema is the 
first development of life. It was at Shiloh that the 
importance which this chest would have on the unity 

* Firat Book of Snmnel, ch. I, ii., iii., eepecially ch. i 



THE ORGANISATION OF SAMUEL. 303 

of the nation first became apparent. It was, in short, 
the essential factor, for if there wei-e numerous ephods 
and numerous places of sacrifice, there was never more 
than one ark ; and this was why there was aftcrwai'ds 
but ouG temple. The presence of the ark at Shiloh 
did not, however, prevent lahveh from being con- 
sulted at Mispeh and at Gilgal.* 

It is not probable that the ark was as richly deco- 
rated then as in the days of Solomon. No doubt the 
wood of which it was constructed was several times 
renewed. The sphinxes, or hawks with folded wings, 
never ceased to adorn the Ud. If gold had been iMed 
with the profusion described by modern writers the 
little sanctuary would have been in great danger at 
an epoch when the land of Israel was so ill protected 
against robbers. Nor do we find that the tent in 
which the portable naos was deposited ever received 
any remarkable ornaments. But the priesthood as- 
sumed importance. Eli, priest of Shiloh, was for forty 
years a kind of judge. His two sons, Phincas and 
Hophni, began the era of imposition. Long did Israel 
remember the three-pronged flesh-hooks which they 
plunged into the cauldrons and pots of the poor people 
who went there to sacrifice. It was also related that 
Hophni and Phineas profaned the sacred tent with the 
women who served there. The result was that for the 
moment the pilgrimage to Shiloh fell into discredit.+ 



* Judges, cb. XX. and xxi. ; First Book of Sumuel, ch. vii., v. S 
and fotlowing. 

t First Book of Samuel, ch. ii., v. 12 and following. 



304 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

The new ideas, however, made their way in spite of 
everything, witli the childlike logic of primitive ages. 
It was imagined that by taking the ark into buttle 
against the Philistines victory would declare itself for 
Israel, and in a war they removed it from Shiloh to 
the camp near Afeq. Contrary to their anticipation, 
the Israelites were beaten ; the ark was captured and 
token to Asdod. According to custom* the Philis- 
tines placed it as a trophy in the temple of their god 
Dagon. Then, again, the superstition common to all 
the people of antiquity made them believe that certain , 
mtiludies were caused by the presence of this piece of j 
sacred furniture among them. They sent it to Beth- , 
Semes, in the land of Israel, placing it in the field of a 
man called Joshua. lahvch was then rather an object 
of terror than of love. Joshua was seized with fear, 
and proposed to the men of Kirjath-Jearim to receive | 
this terrible guest. The men of Kirjath-Jearim came I 
and took the ark and brought it into the house of ] 
Abinadab, who dwelt on a hill, and who sanctified ' 
Eleazar his son to keep it. It appears to have re- 
mained at that place for twenty years.f 

The priesthood of Shiloh had a certain tendency to 
become hereditary. In thii'ty years' time wo shall 
find the ephod in the hands of the great-grandson of 
Eli. The ephod, that is to say the divining machine, 



* Inscr. de Mesn, lines 12, 13, 18. 

+ Firet Book of Saornel, ch, iv., v. 1 and following; oh. xiv., v. 
18. The text of this paeeage mast have been altered, Comp&rs 
Greek. 



THE ORGANISATION OF SAMUEL. 



being a small portable object, the people became more 
and more accustomed to carry it with them during 
their expeditions, in order to consult lahvch at any 
moment. But the rival power of the ephod, the spirit 
of prophecy, assumed much greater proportions. It 
was towards the end of the period of the Judges that 
the nahi, without attaining the importance he acquired 
in the ninth century B.C., commenced to show himself 
with that originality which was to make bim the very 
axis and the pivot of the history of Israel. 

Along with the nnhi, a simple sorcerer, who was con- 
sulted as to the weather, in order to find lost property, 
and who was always approached with a present or 
small piece of money in the hand,* there was the 
nabi who busied himself with politics, and who was 
mixed up in all the affair.^ and all the intrigues of the 
country. The prophets of old lived isolated, without 
any common doctrine. At the epoch we have reached 
they had a discipline and were formed into groups. 
They even managed to form themselves into schools 
roimd Earaah and Gibeah, establishing what we may 
term seminaries.f The secrets by which they procured 
an orgiastic intoxication converted them, as it were, 
into priests of Cybele {^coryhanles). They paraded the 
country in companies, " in string," J with the choirs 
of dances to the sound of the tabret and dulcimer. 

* First Book of Samuel, cli. ix., v. G— 14. 
t First Book of Samuel, ch. xix.. 



X HeM nebiii 
r. 6, 10. 



18; Second Book of Kings, 
B. cord of prophets, First Book of Samaol, ch. k., 



)o6 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

It was something resembling the howling dervishes 
and the kkouan of Mussulman countries. They might 
be seen descending from the high places preceded 
by pipes and timbrels, and flutes and harps, singing, 
shouting, gesticulating, and answering each other 
in chorus. It was enough to join the company of 
the prophets, or to meet it, to be seized with the 
same enthusiasm, followed by prostration and a cata- 
leptic sleep. During days and nights the convulsion- 
ists rolled on the ground entii'cly naked,* These fits 
of divine fiiry were attributed to the spirit of God, 
which working on the people carried them away and 
led them to commit acta bordering on madncss.f The 
individual possessed by the spirit was no longer respon- 
Bible for his acts ; he became another man. The spirit 
acting in him, he bad nothing to do but to let matters 
take their com'se, and everything he did was supposed 
to be of God.J 

This new type of prophet was essentially the *' man 
of God." He was a divine agent, and it is easy to 
understand the superiority that this character gave 
him over the Lovite and the cohen, oven armed with the 
urim and ihummim. He was also hos6 or roi, " secr;"§ 
he saw what others could not see. He divined the 



* First Book of Samuel, ch. six-, v. 24. 

t N33nn, " pUy llie propliet, act as a propLet, go mad." 

\ First Book of Samuel, eh, x., v. C and following ; oh. six., 
y, 19 and following, 

g According to the icoUe (or explanation). First Book of Samuel, 
ch, ix., V. 9, the word vabi was posterior to I'oe, This is very 
donbtful. 



THE ORGANISATION OF SAMUEL. 307 

most secret thoughts.* He had raptures aad visions 
of God. In this state he expressed himself in para- 
bolic verses, in lyric stophes, of which we have the 
type in the oracles attributed to Balaarn.t 

The parallelism, which was the rhyme of the He- 
brews, came into existence and produced its first 
miracles. Their charming melody intoxicated the audi- 
ence, and the masal, imitating the clashing of cymbalsj 
seemed to come from heaven. Primitive man was much 
more moved than wo are by harmony. The cadence 
worked on his nerves, creating a kind of responsive 
vibration which in some cases upset the whole system. 

The prophet based his authority on siffiis, that is to 
say upon predictions which it was easy to verify, the 
accomplishment of which proved the divine character 
of his inspirations. J The skilful use of coincidences 
was the most essential part of the prophet's art, and 
this was made all the easier for him by a boundless 
credulity of which we can hardly form an idea. " Now 
therefore stand and see this great thing which the Lord 
will do before yonr eyes. Is it not wheat harvest to- 
day ? I will call upon lahveh and he will send thunder 

and rain " So Samuel called (into lahveh, and 

lahveh seut thunder and rain that day, and the people 
greatly feared lahveh and Samueh 

This Samuel, who was the most celebrated of the 

'' First Book of Samuel, cb. iz,, v. 10 ; ob. x., v. 2 and 
following. 

+ NiimberR, eh. xxiv., v. 3 — 1, 16 bji(1 following. 

I First Book of Samael, cb, ix,, v. 19 and foUowing ; cb. x., 
V. 2 and foUowing. 



3o8 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

prophets of the new tjrpe, took a prominent part, if 
one can believe the history of tho time, in the triumph 
of lahveh and the organisation of Israel. As in the 
ease of Moses, a great allowance must he made for 
the mania of antedating ideas, which seems to be a 
general rule in religious history. The life of Samuel 
is known to us by little else thau legendary docu- 
ments. It appears, however, that his influence in the 
slow growth of the dogma of Israel made itself felt, 
although it could not be compared to that of the pro- 
phets of the ninth century b.c. He came from tho 
Tillage of EaniJih or Haraatnim-Sophira, near Gibeah 
of Benjamin.* He played the part of both judge 
and prophet. The cause of his power was the influ- 
ence which he exercised over the assemblies at 
Mispeh. Each year he went the round of Bethel, 
Gilgal, and Mispeh. He held assizes there, and 
decided the affairs of the country as if he wore a 
sovereign. His activity was especially displayed in 
Benjamin and tho south of Ephraim. His house va. 
Ramah was the business centre of those places. As for 
Sichem, Gilead, and the tribes of the north, they do not 
appear to have recognised the authority of Samuel. 

The Philistines continued to beat Israel in nearly 
every encounter, Samuel succeeded in persuading 
a portion of the people that their disasters were caused 
by their infidelity to lahveh.f It was agreed that the 
Baals and the Astaroths should be put away. There 



* To-Juy, Kr-Riim, e. league 
t The SoDg of Deborah. 



lorth of JeniGalem. 



TBE ORGANISATION OF SAMUEL. 



I 



appears to haye been a Bolemn reconciliation at Miepeh. 
The people drew water and ponred it out before 
laliveli, then fasted, and Samuel offered up sacrifices.* 

During the next engagement with the Philistines 
it thundered. The Israelites were encouraged by this 
manifestation of lahveh. The Philistines, who knew 
that lahveh was a god of lightning, trembled and fled 
beyond Beth Car. Samuel raised a monument to this 
battle between Mispeh and Bhen, and called it "the 
Stone of Help." It was near the spot where some years 
previously the unfortunate battle of Afeq had been 
fought. 

Samuel played a still more important part in the 
development of Israel if it be true that he established 
in the ark, or near the ark,t the aefer, that is to say 
the open register, in which were inscribed the first 
records of Israel The ark in this ease would assume 
a loftier signification, if it be possible, than that of 
having founded monotheism, siuee it would have been 
the cradle of the Bible, the first archivimit of the history 
of humanity. But the grounds for this opinion are 
very slight.J There is no proof that Samuel knew 
how to write.§ What may be true is that in his time 
Israel made a certain progress in the art of writing, 

* First Book of Samuel, ah. vii. ; Joclges, ch. xx., v. 21. 

+ mn'" ■'30b. First Book of Samuel, cb. x., v. 25. 

I The lUHuncr in which the erection of Ebeneser is related 
(First Book of Samnel, ch. vii., v. 12) leads one to BUppose that 
the art of writing was rare. 

§ First Book of Samuel, ch. s., t. 25, has llttlo yalne. It belongs 
to the moflt feeble part of the history of Samuel. The expression 
nsbDn UCCPQ {First Book of Samuel, ch. s., v, 25) does not 



310 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

Up to that time writing had not been in common 
use either among the Israelites or tho Canaanites. 
I say in common use, for a distinction is here 
necessary. The question of the origin of writing 
among a people is not so simple as one may believe. 
It is one thing to know the alphabet, and another to 
know how to use it in order to write words, A 
people may have known writing for centuries without 
having turned it to any literary use. Is there any 
more striking example than that of the Latins and 
of the Italian populations, whose alphabet is more 
ancient than that of the Greeks, and yet who did not 
commence to have a literature imtil about 200 b.c. ? 
This depends in a great measure on tho substances 
used for -wTiting, on the cost of those substances, 
and on the facilities of procuring them. People 
did not gossip upon stone or metal as they did when 
papyrus became cheap. The Greeks, before writing 
their great compositions, often prolix, had an age of 
" graphic parsimony," during which they counted 
their letters as it were," and confided all that was 
possible to memory. The Sidonians, the Canaanites, 
and the Israelites were for centuries acquainted with 



indicate a conBtilntion or rule of royalt}-. It is rather a transcript 
of the veree, cb. viii., v. 9 and following, wbioh Samuel is 
Euppoeed to have wished to preserve so as to be able to show one 
day how right he was in his predictions against the royalty. The 
moaning of -[Ta'n ISCIBD is, " the character of a king, tho type of a 
king." Compare Judges, oh. xiii., v. 12 ; oh. sviii., v. 7 ; Second 
Book of Kings, ch. i., v. 7, and the frequent expressioa UQtI7D3- 
* Traiti dei Elimi tt dca Htreeio. Coqim inter, gr.. No. IL 



THE ORGANISATION OF SAMUEL. 311 

the Cadmean alphabet without employing it for lite- 
rary or sacred purposes. 

It is certain that people wrote under David. Wo 
may even suppose that long before David lists* 
of men, of objects and genealogies, all kinds of de- 
tails diiSeult to remember, were recorded in alpha- 
betical characters. Poetry, which the memory, on the 
contrary, easOy retains, was not written until a 
relatively recent epoch. The inscription of Mesa, 
the original stone of which is in the Louvre, 
is hardly 200 years later than Samuel. Now the 
country of Moab does not appear to have been in 
any way in advance of the neighbouring countiies. 
The movement which commenced in Israel about 
1100 B.C., and which prepared the age of David and 
Solomon, was too deep, too rich in consequences, to 
have been the work of a listless people unable to 
write. 

Besides, we do not learn that Samuel introduced the 
slightest change into the state of religious affairs which 
he found established. lahveh was no doubt exclusively 
his personal god ; but he did not object to the names of 
Baal and Milik being made use of.f He never thought 
of unity for a place of worship, for he raised an altar 
to lahveh in big house of Eamah.J He sacrificed no 
matter where ;§ without the least scruple he honoured 



* Thia IB (he exact meaDing of the word sffer. 

t Family of Saul ; names composed of Baal and Milik. 

X First Book of Samael, ch. viii., t. 17. 

§ First Book of Samael, ob. xvi., v. 2 and follontng. 



ji* HISTORY Of THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

lahveh on the heights of Baal. Saul and his companions 
were witnesses of thia free worship in the open air. 
They sought the seer to consult him respecting the loss 
of a she-ass.* " They went to a city where there was a 
man of God. As they went up the hill to the cityf 
they found two maidens going to draw water, and said 
to them, Is the seer here ? And they answered them, 
He is ; behold, he is before you. Make haste now, for 
he came to-day to the city, for there is a sacrifice of 
the people to-day in the high place. As soon as ye 
be come into the city ye ehall straightway iind him, 
before he go up to the high place to eat ; for the people 
will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the 
sacrifice, and afterwards they eat that be bidden. 
Now therefore get you up ; for about this time ye shall 
find him. They went up to the city, and at the very 
moment they entered it, behold Samuel, who came out 
before thorn to go to the high place. Then Saul drew 
near to Samuel in the gate and said, Tell me, I pray 
thee, where the seer's house is. And Samuel answered 
Saul and said, I am the seer. Go up before me into 

the high place, for ye shall eat with me to day 

And Samuel took Saul and his servants and brought 
them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chief- 
est place among them that were hidden, which were 

about thirty persons Then they descended from, j 

the high place into the city." % 

* First Book of Samuel, ch. ut., t. 10 and following. 

t No doabt Ramah. 

I Compare with the strange Btory of eacnfices of Bethel, First I 
Book of Samuel, ch. x., t. 3 and following. 



THE ORGANISATION OF SAMUEL. 



Samuel left the ark at Kiijath-Jearim ; his religious 
horizon did not extend beyond Bethel ;* he appears 
to have taken no account of Sliiloh, whose religious 
reign had nearly expired, 'Wq perceive that Israel's 
centre of gravity descended towards the south ; at the 
epoch of Samuel it was in Benjamin at Mispeh, 
Kamah, and Gibeah. Samuel was cohen\ in a general 
sense after the manner of the patriarchs, not accord- 
ing to a special rite. He certainly was nabi, exer- 
cising authority in virtue of direct inspiration. Like 
all the nobis he had to oppose the superstition of 
the urivi and ihummim and the manufacture of ephoda 
of plated silver. Without doubt he was not free 
&om fanaticism. If one of the stories told of him 
be true, bis mind was not without a certain amount 
of flexibility ; in it we see bim, in fact, playing a part 
which is most honourable because it is rare in polities. 
According to this story Samuel founded in Israel a 
regime against which he had the strongest objections, 
almost an antipathy ; he sacrificed his own interests 
and those of his family to the will of the nation which 
he believed to have been led astray. But we are 
about to see that this way of representing matters is 
quite erroneous, and that it was due to the philosophy 
of history which, after the victory of the spirit of 
prophecy, was taken by the most advanced of the theo- 
crats, or, in other words, by the sincere lahvehista. 

* first Book of Sumuel, cb. s., v. 3. 

t Afterwards it was said that he bad been nazir. The Chronicles 
make a Levite of him. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



INSnTUTIOK OP HOTALTT. 



RoYALTT became an absolute neeeBsity for Israel. All 
the Semitic tribes in passing from a nomad to a 
sedentary condition had adopted this institution. 
Israel alone struggled during two or three cen- 
turies against a fatality ■which was unavoidable. The 
old patriarchal rSgime^ to which had been tacked on 
the unsatisfactory religious institutions of Gilgal, of 
Bethel, of Shiloh, of Mispeh, the ark, the ephod, the 
oracle of lahveh, the nebim, the so/iim, had become 
an impossibility. It placed Israel in a state of 
inferiority as regarded their neighbours, especially 
the Philistines, whose territory was not a twentieth 
part that of Israel, but whoso military and political 
institutions were far superior. To all the objections 
raised by the wise men, partisans of old ideas, the 
people replied, " No; we must have a king, bo that 
we may be like other nations, and that our king may 
judge us, and go out before us and fight our battles." * 
The king, or niMek, so ardently desired, evidently 
because the condition of the age demanded one, is, as 
we perceive, the basilevs of the Greeks of Homei'. 
* First Book of Bamael, ch. viii., v. 5, 6, 19, 20. 



INSTITUTION OF ROYALTY. 

The basileus, as his name indicates,* marched at the 
head of his people, led them to battle, with a staff in his 
hand ; this was his part and lot. He was the German 
Herzog. Great transformations must take place beforei 
a royalty born under such auspices could become a kind 1 
of sacrament. At the period at which wo have arrived 
the problem was both profane and military : Israel was 
resolved to exist as a nation. Each step that it took 
towards national unity was a step towards the mo- 
narchy. The work which Gideon, Abimeleeh, and 
Jephthah had attempted in vain was about to be 
accomplished by a Beujamite, of no great talent, but 
brave and strong, whom the necessities of the time 
were about to raise above what his merits and his 
ambition seemed to warrant. 

" So Saul took tho kingdom over Israel," says the 
most ancient writ concerning these events.f It can- 
not be denied, however, that Samuel played a deci- 
sive part, not in opposing the establishment of the 
monarchy, as the later versions adopted by the theo- 
cratic historians have itj'but on tho contrary in aiding 
it, as the most ancient authorities say.J According 
to the Scriptures, Samuel, listening to the voice of 
lahveh, indicated the king and anointed him. It is 
impossible to say how these things happened seeing 
their great antiquity. Independently of having been 



♦ Compare Ai/esilmis. 
f First Book of Snmnel, ch. siv, 
to take like a prey, like plunder. 
} First Book of Siimuel, ch. ix., 
VOL. I. Z 



■. 47. The word isb means 



916 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

designated by prophetic utterance, Saul possessed the 
royal qualities of the time. In those simple days, 
when bodily strength was considered as the greatest of 
gifts, he was looked upon as an accomplished person. 

He was a hero of antiquity ; a tall and handsome 
man, very brave and robust, from Gibeah in Benjamin. 
The tribe of the Benjamitea still formed the military 
portion of Israel. The men were powerful, skilful, 
and accustomed to bodily exercise. "WTien Saul stood 
among the Benjamites he was head and shoulders ttUler 
than any of them. Circumstances, which have since 
served as a groundwork for fable, brought him into in- 
tercourse with Samuel,* Saul appears to have remained 
for a long time among the prophets dancing and sing- 
ing with them.-f He there contracted habits of frenzy, 
which, after having been of service to him, worked 
his ruin. The men of Gibeah, his fellow-countrj-men, 
seeing him thus moved by the spirit of the Lord, said, 
" Is Saul also among the prophets ? '* and this became 
a proverb. Saul observed a certain amount of reserve 
at first in his relations with Samuel. He waited until 
some signal occasion should point him out to the 
choice of the tribes. 

This was not long in coming. The city of Jabesh 
in Gilead, sorely pressed by Nahash the Ammonite, 
sent message after message to the tribes to come to ita 
aid. Gibeah, which was a great military centre, was 



* Ramah and Gileiid wero only half a league from onch other. 

t See two accoQntB ditficuU to nnderataud : First Book of 

Samuel, ch. x., v. 10 and following ; cb. six., v. 18 and following. 



thrown into a fevor of excitement ; Saul was moved by 
the spirit of God, and hia anger was kindled greatly. 
He took a yoke of oxen and hewed them in pieces 
and sent them through all the coasts of Israel by the 
hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not 
forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done 
unto his oxen. And the fear of the Lord fell on the 
people, and they came up with one consent. The 
affair was promptly executed, and in the course of a 
few days the siege of Jabosh-Oilead was raised. 

This was certainly a proof of the great progress 
accomplished in the work of the unification of Israel. 
The sight of Benjamin rising and flying to the aid of a 
city so far away as Jaboah was quite a novel one. The 
Benjamite hero who had brought this about had a right 
to be king of Israel, There were signs of opposition 
which Samuel appears to have calmed.* The prophet 
had fixed upon GUgal t as the place where the estab- 
lishment of the monarchy was to be proclaimed. His 
wishes were complied with. At GUgal, the people 
being assembled, Saul was anointed king of Israel in 
presence of lahveh. And the people made sacri- 
fices of peace-offerings, and Saul and all the men of 
Israel greatly rejoiced. 

According to this account, by far the most authen- 
tic, the monarchy was a good institution. It was God 
who gave it to the people, without having been 

* First Book of Bamuel, ch. i., v. 26, 27 ; ob 
following. 

t Great donbta exist aa to which Gilgal this wai 

z2 



I 



318 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

asked for it, as a protection. Everything was done with 
the connivance of Samuel. Afterwards this event was 
related in quite another manner. It was stated that 
Samuel, having grown old, established his two sons, 
Joel and Abiah, judges over Israel,* but that they, 
far from imitating their father, allowed themselves to 
be corrupted, received presents, and brought justice 
into disrepute. Then all the elders of Israel went to 
Samuel at Eamah and demanded a king to reign over 
them, " like all the other nations." Not without 
raising many objections, and after having painted in 
gloomy, colours the abuses of the royalty, did Samuel 
give an unwilling consent. 

These were, in fact, the sentiments of the prophets 
at a much more modem epoch. They were retro- 
spectively attributed to Samuel. The men of God, 
the prophets whose ideal ever was to return to the 
old patriarchal life, and who generally found in the 
monarchy an obstacle to their Utopian ideas, regarded 
this transformation, which made Israel like to any 
other country, as a sacrilege. lahveh was the real 
king of the people in the theocratic system. To sub- 
stitute for him a profane king was a piece of impiety, 
an act of ingratitude, an apostasy.-j" It was a mark 
of distrust ; it was as much as to say to lahveh that 

* AccordiDg to the First Book of Samuel, ch. viii., v. 1, they both 
judged at Beersheba. This is hardly probable. I suppose that 
the real text was mtt^-nwn in ]1», as in the First Book of Samuel, 
ch. iii., V. 20, in conformity with the false idea that all the sofet 
judged throughout all Israel. 

t First Book of Samuel, ch. viii., v. 7. 



INSTITUTION OF ROYALTY. 



I he was unable to defend his people, and that it would 
be better to have a king. Theocracy thus assumed 

1 the appearance of democracy. The king, representa- 
tive of a lay and profane society, appeared like a 

(diminutive of religious society. 

This was assuredly not the opinion of Samuel. The 
Batire which he is supposed to have aimed at the 
monarchy was directed against the reign of Solomon, 
which he could not have foreseen sixty years in advance. 
But, speaking in an ideal sense, the clever and artless 
passages in which are resumed the policy of the 
Israelite theocracy* contain nothing but truth. The 
duality was ah-eady established. Israel sought after 
two contradictory things : it wished to be like other 
nations and to be a nation apart. It wished to enjoy 
at the same time a real and tangible existence and an 
idealistic and impracticable dream. Prophetism and 
the monarchy, from their very existence, were placed in 
opposition to each other. A lay nation obeying all the 
necessities of lay nations, and a theocratic democracy 
perpetually undermining the bases of civil order, this 
was the struggle the development of which filled up 
the whole history of Israel and stamped it with so 
much originality. In selecting the very conscience of 
Samuel as the theatre of this struggle, the theocratic 
historian followed the example of Denis of Halicar- 
nasBus, who attributed the most profound reasoning 
to the policy of Eomulus. 

* First Book of Bamuel, oh. viii. ; ch. s.,'v. 17 and following; 
oh. xii., V. 1 and following ; ch, xv. 



I 



3»o HJSTOnr OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

The institution of the monarchy in Israel was 1 
quite a profane affair : there was no religious idea 
about it. Although very ancient accounts describe 
Saul as acting in concert with the nahis, it seems that J 
he had nothing to do with cohcnism. The phial of oil I 
which Samuel is supposed to have poured on his head* 
is a legend, hut not iireconcilable with the more trust- 1 
worthy evidence which pictures for us the monarchy j 
of Israel owing its existence to a kind of champ j 
de mat. The sacrifices which were offered up at Gilgal j 
were said to have been obligatory, and such as were 1 
offered up on all solemn occasions. The biblical 
writer means no doubt that these sacrifices were j 
offered to lahvch. That may be the case. Let me j 
remark, however, that Saul was, like Gideon and | 
Jephthah, an intermittent worshipper of lahveh. 
His sons were called Jonathan, Meribaal, Isbaaljf | 
Milkisua;J which proves that ho wavered between 
the words Baal, Milik, Moloch, and lahveh as signi- 
fying the divinity. The fact that during the whole 
course of his reign he found it impossible to agree i 
with the prophets and the priests, clearly shows the 
lay origin of his power, and this was the character 
which the monarchy maintained in Israel up to the 
end. "And the king was proclaimed in Israel when , 



• Firat Book of Samuel, ch, 
witb ^vlial followE. Saul wa 
question of ft monarchy, 

t Olio of his grftodeons w&a called Meribaal. 

J Compare with Elisha, son of David. 



:., v. 1 and following, little agrees 1 
anointed before there \ras aoy 



INSTITUTION OF ROYALTY. 321 

the heads of the people and the tribes were gathered 
together ; " here is one of those rare historical 
generalities to be found in the old Hebrew writings, 
and the curious place in which this maxim* is to 
be found is by no means the least significant proof of 
the important constitutional meaning attached to it. 

* Deuteronomy, ch. xxxiii., v 5 : prologne of the Blessing 
of Moses, composed of phrases bearing no relation to the maxim, 
which they wished to insert somewhere. 



CHAPTER XV. 



REIGN OF SAUL. 



Saul appears to have reigned twenty years over 
Israel. His legitimate wife was Ahinoam, daughter 
of Ahimaas. She bore him four sons,* only one of 
whom distinguished himself. He had besides several 
concubines, who created at Gibeah numerous colla- 
teral branches of the house of Saul. 

Saul had no capital properly so called. He usually 
dwelt in Gibeah of Benjamin, the place of his birth, 
named Gibeah of Saul after him. He there led a 
family life, without any show or ceremony, the 
simple life of a peasant noble, cultivating his fields 
when he was not at war, and holding aloof from all 
business. His house was large. At each new moon 
sacrifices and feasts were celebrated there, at which 
all the officers had their places marked out. The king 
sat with his back to the wall.t To execute his orders 
he had footmen, J similar to the Eastern schaotisch 

* First Book of Samnel, ch. xiv., v. 49 ; ch. xxxi., v. 2 ; Second 
Book of Samuel, ch. ii., v. 8 ; First Book of Chronicles, ch. viii., 
V. 88. 

t First Book of Samncl, ch. xx., v. 25. 

X First Book of Samuel, ch. xxii., v. 17. 



REIGN OF SAUL. 



of the present day. There was nothing which resem- 
bled a court. His proud neighbours, who were more 
or less his relations, like Abner, kept him company. 
This was a nobility at once rustic and military, a solid 
corner-stone, such as we find at the base of durable 
monarchies. But the incapacity of the man ren- 
dered everything useless. The monarchy was founded, 
but the dynasty was not discovered ; the Israelites 
had not yet escaped from the period of experi- 
ments. 

At a more modern epoch the reign of Saul was 
represented as having been perpetually disturbed by 
Samuel. The old prophet, who was Bupposed to 
have established the monarchy in spite of himself, 
had endeavoured to recover bit by bit what he had 
been obliged to concede. This, we repeat, is an 
account conceived from a theocratic point of view at a 
later age. Nothing in the really historic writings 
proves that Samuel wished to injure Saul. What 
could have caused this opposition ? Saul never 
endeavoured to trespass on the prophetic part played 
by Samuel; his power was essentially military; in 
religion he innovated nothing. His lahvehism does 
not appear to have been very strict, but was that of 
Samuel more so? Theocratic eclecticism was very 
elastic in those days. There wore priests of lahveh 
who called themselves Ahimilik, and it is a question 
whether the same priest who called himself Ahiah in 
one place, was not Ahimilik at another.* Like Samuel, 
* First Book of Samuel, eh. xlv., v. 8, 8 ; ch. xxi., jotii. 



3*+ HISTORr OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

Saul sacrificed in places already consecrated,* raised 
altars of unhewn stone, and displayed uo repugnance 
for the names under which the Almighty was wor- 
shipped in the high places. David and his wife Mikal, 
the daughter of Saul, had in their house, as we shall 
see, curved leruphim, which played the part of house- 
hold gods and were the object of religious worship.'!' 

The fits of inspired corybanticism to which Saul was 
subject had uo more to do with lalivehism than with 
any other form of worship. These fits were considered 
as produced by the spirit of God blowing whither it 
listed. This was pure clohism. The brain of Saul 
appears to have been turned by these convulsions 
which seem to have been taught in the sehools 
of the prophets. Ilis intelligence, which was subject 
to all the credulity of the age, became impaired- He 
went as far as necromancy, and, as it appears, became 
disgusted with it, for a law against necromancers and 
sorcerers is attributed to him.J Hardly any progress 
in religion was made duiing his reign. Never was there 
a greater abuse of uriin and thummim.^ The gravest 
questions were decided by dice with a confidence 
showing the blindest i'aith in the adepts, and a really 
unheard-of audacity among the priests, guardians of 
the sacred machine. 

It was as a soldier that Saul stands out so promi- 



* First Book of Siimuel, ch. xm., v. 8—14. 

t Firfit Book of Samuel, cb. xis.. v. 13. 

} First Book of Samuel, ch. xxvui., v. 3, 9. 

g First Book of Samuel, ch. xiv., v. 3, IS, 20, 30 aud foUowing. 



I 



REIGN OF SAUL. 315 

nently in the history of Israel. He was powerfully 

socondt'd iu this task by his son, the brave and faithful 
Jonathan. When Saul assumed the royal title the situa- 
tion was deplorable, The Philistiues occupied posts in 
the heart of the country, at Geba,' for example. Saul 
aud Jonathan almost alone were armed. It seems that 
the conqueiing Philistines had so sternly prohibited 
the manufacture and even the repair of objects of iron 
in Israel, that in order to sharpen their agricultural 
implements the Israelites were obliged to apply to the 
Phili8tines.-|- The military disorganisation produced 
by the exclusive importance of men like Samuel, 
strangers to the art of war, was complete. Saul and 
Jonathan performed prodigies of valour and activity 
to improve the position, Up to that time the army of 
Israel had been merely a militia, commanded during 
its period of training by a temporary chief. From 
Saul's time there was a permanent army ; at all events 
there were the cadres of one, a aar-saba or seraskier, 
men of war by profession, officers having their soldiers 
in hand. Such an one notably was a certain Abner or 
Abiner, who appears to have been a first-cousin of Saul, J 
and who was evidently a captain of great capacity. 

In his first campaign Saul selected Michmash, 
Bethel, and Gibeah as his points of support. Saul 
and Jonathan established themselves firmly in those 

" Firat Book of Samuel, oh. x., v. 4 ; ch. xiii., v. 8, Not to be 
mistaken for dibenli. 

t First Book of Samnol, ch. xiii., v. 19 anii followiog. 

{ Compare First Book of Samaal, ch. xiv,, v, 61, aod ch, iz,, 
T. 1. 



rOF ISRAEL. 

regions, and Jonathan boat the small Philistine g 
son at Gcba. This partial success led to an offensive 
movement on the part of all the Philistine forces. The 
country was entirely occupied ; the inhabitants had to 
hide themselves in caverns, in cisterns, among rocks, 
and in thickets, A great many crossed the Jordan 
and took refuge in Gad and in GUead. A powerful 
cavalry and numerous chariots of war swept the whole 
region north of Jerusalem over an area of many 
miles. 

This number was ii source of weakness to the invaders. 
They had with them a numerous body of camp followers, 
most of them Israelites, who, seeing the stand made 
by Saul and Jonathan, made common cause with their 
former fellow-countrymen.* The battle took place 
between Miehmash and Ajalon. The pui-suit was 
deadly for the euemy, who left behind a considerable 
amount of plunder. The Israelites, half starved, took 
sheep and oxen and calves, and slew them, "and did 
eat them with the blood." This circumstance terrified 
Saul. The fact of eating flesh that had not been bled 
was considered a crime.t Saul caused a large stone 
to be brought ; upon this stone each one brought his 
sheep or his ox. and slew it there ; then they recom- 
menced their banquet, which lasted all night. The 
great stone was considered an altar, '-the first which 
Saul built to lahveh." 



■' First Book of Samnel, cb. xiv 
Greek traimlfttors. 

t Firet Book of Samuel, cb. xiv., 



Read nn2n with 



. 31 aod following. 



XEIGN OF SAUL. 



I 



The priest of Shiloh, Ahiah, the gi'eat-grandsoa of 
Eli, followed the army with his ephod, which was con- 
sulted wheuever a difficulty arose. At a given mo- 
ment the ephod refused to answer, and this indicated 
a serious perturbation. lahvoh was no longer iji 
communication with his people. It was suspected 
that a great crime was the cause of this momentary 
ill-humour on the part of lahvch. The herem, that is 
to Gay the anathema, carrying death with it, was to 
be visited on the person designated by labveh. The 
proceedings were commenced as usual by division ; 
on one side stood the whole army, on the other side 
Saul and Jonathan. " If the fault be with me and 
with Jonathan," said Saul, " give urim. If the fault 
be with the people, give thummim.'" It was unm which 
came out. The question was then between Saul and 
and his son, and Jonathan was taken. It happened 
that Jonathan had, without knowing it, incuiTcd the 
penalty of death sworn by his father. The Israelitish 
mind loved these legends, which illustrated the strict 
character of an oath. The case of Jephthah will be 
remembered. But in the case of Jonathan the people 
protested, and he was saved. 

Heroic accounts were soon circulated concerning 
these wars, in which individual adventure held the 
first place. The Philistines were supposed to possess 
in their ranks many remnants of the ancient race of the 
Analcims, almost all from Gath. As the Israelites were 
of middle height, these giants astonished and frightened 
them. A very ordinary type of the military legend was 



k 



328 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

to bring one of these giants and an Israelitish warrior 
into contact, the victory being naturally gained 
by the latter. At least four of these stories are 
known.* The most modem and the most detailed is 
that in which the youthful David killed Goliath with 
a sling ; "f but this legendary name had already been 
made use of, for the sword of Goliath was handed to 
David by the priests of Nob as a trophy which had 
been long consecrated.^ The feeble weapons of the 
Israelite, compared to the terrible arms of the enemy, 
formed the most amusing part of these adventures, 
which always terminated by the pleasant spectacle of 
the foreigner killed in spite of his helmet and his 
breastplate by the most childish means. § 

Saul kept as it were a school of war, of which the 
tribe of Benjamin formed the sinews. The Carian 
and Pelasgian bands of Gath and Ekron found them- 
selves opposed to an organisation capable of resisting 
them. There was perpetual war, a kind of duel only 
interrupted by the seasons. The general result was 
favourable to the Israelites; the Philistines were 
driven back into the plains on the coast and the moun- 
tains were almost freed from their depredations. 

The campaigns of Saul against the Moabites, the 
Ammonites, and the Aram of Soba are little known. 

* Second Book of Samneli ch. xxi., v. 15 — 22 ; ch. xxiii., v. 21. 

t First Book of Samnel, ch. xvii. 

X First Book of Samuel, ch. xxi., v. 9. The words rh^U ptt^a 
Pi^'DU ltt7M must surely have been added by the last editor. 

§ Second Book of Samuel, ch. xxiii., v. 21. Story of Benaiah 
similar to that of David. Opposition of ^^{27 and n'^sn* 



Ji£IGN OF SAUL. ,19 

What is related of his war against the Amalekites 
and their king Agag belongs to modern story, dis- 
torted with the intention of lowering the monarchy for 
the benefit of the prophets.* It is certain, however, 
that Saul employed a good deal of his time in putting 
down the Bedouins of the East who pillaged the peace- 
ful children of Israel.-I" 

It is less easy to understand the bitterness dis- 
played by Saul against theCanaanites, especially against 
the Gibeonites, who had obtained a charter when the 
country was conquered. It would have been better 
policy to Iiave endeavoured to have assimilated these 
tribes, from which little danger was to be apprehended 
seeing their disorganised condition. Saul on the con- 
trary tried to exterminate them, and in this circum- 
stance displayed great cruelty. The result was that 
his family afterwards suff'ered terrible reprisals.^ 

A royalty of this description founded on all the rules 
of history, on heroism, and the greatest ser'vices ren- 
dered to national unity, deserved to enjoy peace and 
tranquillity and to serve as the basis of a dynasty. 
Such was not the case. The reign of Saul, although 
very advantageous for Israel, was for the son of Kish 
and for his family full of adversity and trouble. A man 
of great courage and an excellent soldier, Saul was 
not a man of intellect. He made an abuse of the 
ephod, and sought in the urim and thummim what he 

* First Book orSamnol, ch, xv., v. I and following. 
t First Book of Samuel, ch. xiv., v. 49- 
t Second Book of Samnel, ch, xxi. 



330 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

ought to have sought from common sense. One 
seldom reads of any one more superstitious than him. 
The constant terror of some unknown and capricious 
force paralysed his judgment. His long connection 
with the school of the prophets had given him a ner- 
vous debility which verged upon epilepsy. This 
added to a melancholy temperament and the responsi- 
bility of a position new to Israel, was the ruin of poor 
Saul. He fell into a kind of madness, and it was said 
that he was troubled with an evil spirit from the 
Lord.* Bereft of his senses^ he indulged in the wild- 
est gesticulations, like the prophets in their fits.f He 
could be tranquillised only by music similar to that of 
the nobis. More than all else, the solemn sounds of the 
harp calmed him. In his moments of despondency he 
called for the cleverest harpers to soothe his troubled 
mind. J 

Among the excitable and ambitious people of the 
East a man has no right to commit a fault. There is 
always some one ready to take advantage of it. The 
intermittent attacks of madness from which Saul 
suffered would have been of little consequence if fate 
had not placed at his side a man who was endowed 
with all the talents of which he was deficient. The 
etymological myth of Jacob, "the supplanter," often 
became a reality in the ancient history of Israel. 

♦ First Book of Samuel, ch. xvi., v. 14 ; ch. xviii., v. 10. 
t Mnann, First Book of Samuel, ch. xviii., v. 10, wickedly. 
X First Book of Samuel, ch. xvi., v. 14 — 28. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



David's early life. — death of saul. 

" And there was sore war against the Philistmes all the 
days of Saul ; and when Saul saw any strong man or 
any valiant man, he took him unto him."* These words 
appear to- have been the heading of a chapter con- 
cerning David in the book of the Wars of lahveh. 
They form the finest eulogy of Saul and a clear narra- 
tive of the historical part which he played. Saul was 
the organiser of the Israelite army, which up to his 
time had not existed. But in history, as a rule, man 
ia punished for the good he does and is recompensed 
for the evil. The open-hearted nature of Saul was 
destined to bring into notice the man who was to 
undermine him, his family, and his house. The fate 
of those who labour at a work is often to see it pass 
into hands more capable of causing it to succeed and 
find what they had created completed more perfectly 
by others. History is quite the contrary of virtue 
rewarded. Tho family of the real founder of the force 
of Israel was exterminated. The unscrupulons bandit 
who took his place became the king " after God's 
heart," the supposed ancestor of Jesus, of him whom 

* Firet Book of Samuel, oh. xiv„ v. 52. 
VOL. I. A A 



332 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

the opinion of humanity has crowned with every kind 
of halo. Such was the justice of lahveh; the world 
belonged to those who pleased him. 

In the campaigns against the Philistines, the theatre 
of which wa3 in the neighbourhood of Shochoh and 
Ephes-Dammim, in Judah,* a Bethlehemite of the 
name of David, the son of Jesse, f commenced to dis- 
tinguish himself. At that time the heroism of a cer- 
tain Eleazar, the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, J who, almost 
alone, stopped the conquering Philistines, was much 
admired. David was at his side the whole time, 
fighting desperately. The reputation of this youthful 
warrior rapidly increased. He was brave, enterprising, 
skilful, and, like the Benjamites, an excellent slinger. 
But more extraordinary still were his civil and social 
qualities. There are sometimes generated in the Semitic 
countries of the East, which usually produce harsh- 
featured and repulsive men, prodigies of grace, elegance, 
and wit. David was one of these charmers. Capable 
of the greatest crimes when circumstances required, he 
was also capable of the most delicate sentiments. He 
knew how to make himself popular : no one could know 
him without becoming attached to him.§ His type of 

* Second Book of Samuel, ch. xxiii., v. 9 and following, 
corrected by First Book of Chronicles, ch. xi., v. 12 and follow- 
ing ; ch. xxvii., v. 4. Compare First Book of Samuel, ch. xvii., 
V. 1. 

t Mem. on the Noms theophores a2)ocopes, in the Revue des etudes 
juives, October and December, 1882, pp. 168, 169. Journal des 
savants f 1st March, 1887. 

X Ah oh was a subdivision of Benjamin. 

§ First Book of Samuel, ch. xvi., v. 21, 22. 




DAVIjyS EARLY LIFE. — DEATH OF SAUL. 



333 



face contrasted with the tanned countenances of his 
fellow-tribesmen. His complexion was ruddy, his 
features were delicate and amiable,* his voice soft 
and fluent, f Yery ancient writings represent him as 
skilled on the harp and an accomplished poet.J 

He appeared to have been born to succeed. He was 
the first man of Judah who acquired notoriety. He in 
some way profitod by the efforts of those who pre- 
ceded him. A circumstance which does great honour 
to Jonathan is the lively friendship which he conceived 
for this young man, till then unknown, who was as 
brave as and more intelligent than himself, and who 
was one day to prove so fatal to his family, He clothed 
him and armed him, and the two young men swore an 
eternal friendship. 

David was soon ordered upon a raid, which proved 
a complete success. He was much liked by all the 
tribe of Benjamin. On returning from an expedition 
with Saul the women of the villages through which 
they passed came out before the conquerors shaking 
their citherns and singing. The burden of their song 
upon that day was, " Saul hath slain his thousands 
and David his ten thousands." 

* Firat Book of Samuel, ch. im., v. 12, 18. 

t Ibid. 

} AmOB, ch. v!., T. 6. The Jasher comprisoi the poems 
attribated to him (Second Book of SHmuel, cb. i., v. 17 and 
following; ch. iii., v. 33 and following). The part he ia made to 
piny as harpist to Saul is legondoiy ; still more his nile of psalnuHt. 
All this reposed on the poetic character which he gained by the 
Jtuher. 




334 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

Saul was by nature jealous, and it must be admitted 
that it would have taken less to make most people 
jealous. Popularity goes out to meet some men, 
almost without being sought ; public opinion, as it 
were, takes them by the hand, exacts from them the 
commission of crimes as part of the programme which 
it imposes on them. Such a man was Bonaparte ; 
such a man was David. The culprit in such cases is 
the crowd, the Lady Macbeth, which, as soon as it has 
chosen its favourite, intoxicates him with these magic 
words, "Thou shalt be king." Jonathan himself with 
exquisite modesty bowed before David. The latter did 
not act outwardly as a pretender ; but he looked upon 
himself as a kind of destined heir, in the event of the 
king dying. The situation between Saul and David 
became daily more strained. 

According to a version contained in those parts of the 
biography of David which are not very trustworthy,* 
Saul once or twice tried to kill him with his javelin. 
What we know is that the unfortunate king was wrath 
within himself, and that he did what he could to drive 
David away. Ho is accused of having entrusted him 
with perilous missions in order to get rid of him. He 
is said to have exclaimed, "Let him die by the hands 
of the Philistines ! " But all these little expeditions, 
of which so many wonderful stories are told, only made 
David more popular. The people doted on him, and 
poor Saul may well have pronounced in his heart the 

"^ First Book of Samuel, ch. xyiii., v. 10, 11 ; ch. xix., y. 8 and 

followlDg. 




DAVIDS EARLV LIFE.— DEATH OF SAUL. 335 

words attributed to Iiira, " What can he have more but 
the kingdom ? " If what ia related of the misunder- 
Btanding between Samuel and Saul possesses any his- 
torical truth,* it might he said that the lahvehist 
party, discontented with Saul, passed over to the side 
of David. We have not sufficient information to enable 
us to make so precise a statement. David, however, 
was what may well be called, taking the difference of 
the time into aceoimt, the chief of the clerical party. 
The schools for prophets at Eamah, the priests of 
lahveh at Nob, conspired openly in his favour. The 
clerical party, under the most different circumstances, 
has always the knack of aggravating its enemies. It 
is easy to imagine how all those trivial worries, 
aggravated by the susceptibility of Saul, must have 
acted upon a sickly imagination and over-excited 
nerves. 

Pretending to share the enthusiasm of the crowd, 
but in reality with a view to the ruin of his rival, by 
entrusting him with dangerous missions, Saul next 
gave him his daughter Mikal \ in maiTiage. But 
everything goes wrong with those who are jealous. 
Mikal dearly loved the young hero and sided with 
him against her i'ather. Jonathan two or three times 
turned aside the homicidal projects of Saul, and 
Mikal, having heard that a plot had been formed to 
slay her husband, got him to escape, and placed 

* It IB doubtful if Samuel wna still alive. There Ib nothing to 
Bhow positively when he died. 

t First Book of Samael, ch. xvtii., t. 20, 21. 




j)6 HISTORr OF THE PEOPL. 

in his bed the teraphim of the house,* ooTering it 
with cloth and putting a pillow of goat'a hair for 
a bolster, in order to deceive the assassins. Thus 
we see that these large wooden penatcs entered even 
into the houses of persona supposed to be the most 
devoted to lahvehisra. No one was blamed for this, 
and no ono considered these graven images as an 
insult to lahveh.f 

Bavid was thus obliged to lead a wandering life, 
during which he found numerous opportunities for 
the exercise of those expedients in which he was so 
skilled. This period of his existence was filled with 
adventures which were turned to good account by the 
tale-bearers They loved above all to bring into bold 
relief the services rendered by Jonathan to the dis- 
graced man, and the trials to which the fidelity of the 
two friends was exposed. Many of these episodes 
may have been written from the tales told by BavidJ 
himself, who probably found pleasure when he was 
old in relating certain deeds of valour which he alone 
could have known : how, for example, he had been 
saved by Mikal his wife ; how in the cave of Engeddi 
he had had the life of Saul in his hands, and had 
contented himself with cutting off the skirt of his 
cloak when he was asleep ; how he fled to Achish, the 



* Firet Book of Bamnel, ch. xix., v. 13. 

I The word teraphim, like all those Bignifyicg the deity, ie used 
in the ebguJar. 

I It is remiirkable that all these anecdotes are related as David 
-would have wished. 



DAVID'S EARLY LIFE.— DEATH OF SAUL. 337 

king of Gath, and feigned madness, a piece of deceit 
very common among Orientals. 

The life of a banished man did not in antiquity 
differ materially from that of a brigand. David, with- 
out any place of safety, hid himself in a cave near 
Adulhim. His brothers and several of his relations 
joined him, and the cave soon became a lair for 
brigands. "And every one that was in distress, and 
every one that was in debt, and every one that was 
discontented gathered themselves unto him ; and ho 
became captain over them, and there were with him 
about four hundred men." This was the nucleus of 
the Gibborim or strong men of David. These warriors 
lived by plunder ; they lived iu that epic period when 
the hero pillaged the country which he was after- 
wards to protect. 

The greater portion of the family of David had re- 
mained at Bethlehem ; they were in the power of Saul, 
and David feared that they would be subject to the most 
sanguinary reprisals. He found means to take them 
into the land of Moab and placed them under the pro- 
tection of the king of that country. Then he returned 
to his cave at AduUam, where ho fortified himself, but 
the prophet Gad persuaded him not to remain there, 
on the ground that AduUam was too near the country 
where Saul reigned supreme. In the midst of the 
tribe of Judah, however, the authority of Saul was 
hardly recognised, and Gad advised him to fly thither. 

■ In fact, David went and hid himself, with his brigands, 

I in the forest of Heret. 



3J8 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

A cmol incident which occurred soon after thia still 
further embittered the struggle and led to all kinds of 
atrocities. One of the places in which there was a 
tendency towards religious centralisation was Nob, to 
the north of Jerusalem. Nob possessed a sacred tent, 
with an altar upon which were spread the unleavened 
loaves, an ephod, a treasury of consecrated vessels, and 
above all a numerous priesthood which took care 
of the sanctuary and lived there. David, in a trip 
which he made with his people in that direction, 
applied to the chief priest, called Ahimilik,* and asked 
him for bread for his men. Ahimilik, having no 
ordinaiy bread to give him, thought that he might set 
aside the rules of the liturgy, and offered David and 
his men hallowed loaves which were before the altar 
if the young men have kept themselves from women."f 
David then asked Ahimilik if he had any arms, and the 
priest answered, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, 
whom thou slewcst, is here wrapped in a cloth behind 
the ephod ; if thou shalt take that take it, for there is 
no other here." David said, " There is none like that, 
give it me." Ahimilik, in addition, consulted his 
ephod for David ; in a word, the greatest sympathy 
reigned between David and the priests of Nob. 

* Thia name, into whicb enters that of the god Mi!ik, is a proof 
of the eclectieisia of the times. Two generatiuus afterwards we find 
the same name in the same famiiy*(8ecoud Book of Samuel, ch. vui., 
V. 17). Oar Ahimilik is called further on (First Book of Samuel, 
ch. xxii., V. 9) SOD of Ahitoub. 

t First Book of Samuel, ch. xsl., v. 1 and followiog ; ch. xxii., 
V. S and foUowing. 



DAVIS'S EARLY LIFE.— DEATH OF SAUL. 339 

All this -was told to Saul by Doeg the Edomite, a 
jealous and wicked man. The king sent for Ahimilik 
and his family. Ahimilik defended David with 
much moderation. AU was useless : Saul ordered 
the priests of Nob to be put to death. His Israelite 
racim refused to do the deed. He had to fall back 
upon Doeg for the execution. According to the 
legend all the priests were slain and Nob waa de- 
stroyed. A single son of Ahimilik/' Abiathar, 
escaped and fled after David. What is probable is 
that Abiathar remained at Nob, and on hearing of 
the massacre of his father and his brothers went to 
David. He took the ephod with him. Now it is 
not probable that the priests would have taken the 
sacred imago with them when they went to Saul after 
being denounced by Doeg. 

The Oracle of lahveh thus fell into the hands of 
David, and rendered him signal service. The rumour 
having spread abroad that the Philistines had attacked 
Keilah and were pillaging the threshing floors, David 
consulted lahveh, saying, " Shall I go and smite these 
Philistines ? " The answer was favourable. David 
marched, in spite of the advice of his companions, and 
completely succeeded. He, however, committed an 
imprudence in entering a walled city with a handful 
of men. This is a fault which the Bedouin brigands 
avoid, knowing that they lose all their advantages in 
the cities. Saul saw the blunder, and resolved by a 
rapid march to capture David. The question was 
* £vldeDt exaggeration. 



340 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEZ. 

whether the men of Keilah would hand him over to 
Saul. The oracle left David no illuaion on this sub- 
ject. He hastened therefore to leave Keilah with six 
hundred men, and remained in a mountain in the 
wilderness of Ziph, near Hebron, where he lived an 
adventurous life, hiding himself in caverns and strong 
places,* 

Hebron is nearly at the summit of the mountain 
range of Judah, which runs sevenil leagues to tho 
Bouth. Upon this continuation of the lino of separa- 
tion between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea 
stood, and still stand, the towns or villages of Zip, 
C'armel, and Maon.f To the west of these places the 
country is rich and fertile ; but to the east, on the side 
of the Dead Sea, is the fearful wilderness of Judah. It 
was there that David fixed the head-quarters of his 
hand. Saul could do nothing against him. The 
Hebronites seemed favourable to him. To the south 
were the Jerahmelites and the Kenites, always friendly 
to Israel, 

Zip and Maon were the real centres of the kingdom 
of David, The difference between him and Said became 
every day more violent. The power of Saul was hai-dly 
owned anywhere but in Benjamin. Judah, in reality, 
was for David. However, the Ziphites betrayed their 
guest. They went to Gibeon and denounced bim to 
Saul, who arrived with a strong force to seize him. 

* See Scenery of David's Outlaw Life, in Sunry of Wettem 
Palectint, Bpecial pnpcis, pp. 208 aud following, 
t The names of these localities stlU exist. 



J 




J)A VmS EARLY LIFE.— DEATH OF SAUL. 3+1 



David was at that moment in the desert on the rock 
of Slips, near Maon, and Saul was pressing him closely 
when he heard that the Philistines had invaded the 
land, and he was obliged to return. It was afterwards 
thought that the rock derived its name from this event, 
as David had there slipped like an eel between the 
fingers of his enemy. 

David, fearing that Saul after having defeated the 
Philistines would turn back upon him, left the region 
of Zip and descended towards the Dead Sea, where he 
established himself in the strongholds beyond Engeddi. 
These mountains seem only accessible to the chamois. 
Saul, however, went there with two thousand picked 
men commanded by Abncr. According to a pretty 
story, cleverly invented if it be not true, David, 
hiding in a cave, at one moment had his enemy in 
bis hand, but was satisfied with cutting off the skirt 
of his raiment. According to another anecdote, 
still more artistically arranged and worthy of the 
romance of Antar, David found means to steal from 
Saul bis lance and his pitcher of water, which 
furnished bim with a good opportunity for laughing 
at Abncr. David, if one excepts the consequences 
which are inseparable fi-om brigandage, behaved with 
relative moderation. His conduct towards the Maonite 
Nabal, a wealthy man who owned many flocks in the 
neighbourhood, is related as a prodigy of wisdom. 
With the ordinary feeling of a Bedouin who thinkfl 
that he ought to be paid for what be does not steal, 
and who looks upon himself aa the protector of the 



34* HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

people he does not plunder, David's men observed one 
day to I^abal that not one of his sheep was missinfr, 
wWd. on the part of half-starved neighW w« v^ 
meritorious. Nabal was churlish; Abigail settled 
matters by her politeness. Nabal died a few days 
afterwards, and David married Abigail. He also 
married another woman of those parts, called Ahinoam. 
Mikal had not followed David in his exile. As a 
woman, according to the ideas of those days, should 
never remain without a husband, her father had given 
her to one of his officers of the tribe of Benjamin. 

An incident in the wandering life of David, far 
more difficult to justify, was his sojourn among the 
most bitter enemies of his country, the Philistines. 
There can, however, be no doubt about it. David 
spent six months, accompanied by six hundred men 
and his two wives, with the son of the king of Gath, 
Achish, who gave him Ziklag, in the country of the 
Philistines, which from that time belonged to the 
kings of Judah. This became a complete Israelitish 
colony. Abiathar with his ephod represented the 
worship of lahveh in its chief functions, which con- 
sisted in giving advice with regard to the future. 

From Ziklag David sent out expeditions which 
pillaged and massacred the nomad tribes of the desert 
of Paran, especially the Amalekites. These tribes 
were the friends of the Philistines and the enemies of 
Israel. David therefore considered it patriotic to do 
them all the harm he could. Fearing, on the other 
hand, that these massacres would displease the Phi- 



DA VllfS EARLY LIFE.—DEA TH OF SA UL. 343 

listines, he took the precaution of killing men, women, 
and children. He brought back to Gath, in the way 
of booty, nothing but the flocks and goods stolen. 
"When Achish asked him against whom he had directed 
his last raid, he replied, " On the side of the Negeb * 
of Judah," or ^* against the Jerhamelites," or " against 
the Kenites," tribes friendly to Israel. Achish was 
delighted, for he shared the booty, and said to himself 
that by such exploits David rendered himself odious 
to his fellow-countrymen ; and this would oblige him 
to remain in his service for ever. 

The situation became still more embarrassing when 
Achish informed David of his intention to undertake 
an expedition against the Israelites, and to appoint 
him ^^ keeper of his head for ever." David replied in 
an evasive manner. It was now question of a real 
war and not of a simple raid, the army of the Philis- 
tines marching towards the plain of Jezreel with the 
intention of establishing itself there in a durable 
manner, as also at Bethsean and in the valley of the 
Jordan, t David and his men marched in the rear 
with Achish. That good fortune which had so often 
stood by him favoured him on this occasion, backed 
it is true by his own superlative cujming, and extri- 
cated him from this most dangerous position. The 
lords of the Philistines, very justly it must be said, 
pointed out to Achish how much it was to be feared 

* Negeh means the soath, and signified the southern or hot pari 
of Jadah. 
t First Book of Samuel ob* <^*> ^' ^^ ^^* 



344 HISTOSF OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

that David would turn round upon them in tho battle 
and reconcile himself to his old master at the expenM 
of his new allies. David was sent away and returned 
to Ziklag in three days. 

A terrible surprise awaited David and his men. 
Taking advantage of their absence the Amalekites had 
invaded the Negcb, pillaging equally the Judahites, 
the Calebites, and tho Philistines. They had seized 
upon Ziklag and had burned it. The women and all 
that was there had fallen into their hands, and they 
had gone into the desert. Great was the desolation, 
The two wives of David, Ahinoam and Abigail, were 
captives. The people had lost their sons and their 
daughters. There were symptoms of indiscipline, and 
there was a talk of stoning David, who resolved, after 
consulting the oracle, to go in pursuit of tho Amalek- 
ites. He made Abiathar bring forth the ephod, and 
he inquired of lahveh, "Bhall I pursue after this 
troop ? Shall I overtake them ? " And lahveh 
replied, " Pursue, for thou shalt surely overtake them 
and without fail recover all." David set out with six 
hundred men. At the brook of Besor two hundred 
could go no farther. He continued his march with, 
the four hundred who remained. 

An Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite, whom they 
found in the fields half dead with hunger, led them 
to tho camp of the Amalekites. They found them 
eating and diinking and dancing, and rejoicing over 
the groat spoil they had taken out of the land of the 
Philistines and out of the land of Judah. David bIcwj 



DAVID'S EARLY LIFE.— DEATH OF SAUL. 345 

the whole band, save some young men who seized 
upon the camels and fled. The comrades of David 
recovered all that they had lost, and David recovered 
his two wives. They carried back with them immense 
flocks and herds. 

An idea worthy of the scamps who composed the 
troop of David then occurred to these victorious 
bandits; it was that the Philistines, the Judahites, 
and the Calebites would come and reclaim their pro- 
perty, and that it would be necessary at least to share 
the plunder with the stragglers who had remained 
behind at the brook of Besor. At the head of the 
column they cried, "This is David's spoil," to show 
that those who had not taken part in the expedition 
had lost their rights to what was formerly their pro- 
perty; in other terms, that everything had become 
the property of the Amalekites, and then that of the 
small expeditionary force. When they met the strag- 
glers of Besor, the dispute was sharp. The scamps 
who had taken part in the expedition would only 
restore to the stragglers their wives and their children. 
David considered that the former proprietors of the 
stolen goods had lost all right to them ; but " he made 
it a statute and an ordinance," that those who remained 
with the baggage should have their part in the spoil, 
and this principle became an absolute rule in Israel. 

David took a large share for himself, out of which 
he sent handsome presents to his friends in Judah, to 
the elders of the cities, especially to those of Hebron, 
Eshtemoa, and Honuah. ^^® Kenites and the Jerah- 



346 HISTORF OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

melites were not forgotten, and tlie holy city of Bethel 
received its share. This successful raid had serious 
consequences. Up to that time David had been poor. 
The spoil taken from the Amalekites had placed great 
riches in his hands. Ambitious as he was he saw in 
this wealth merely a way to increase his influence. 
Judah was soon gained over. The elders of the cities 
had all become his friends. How was it possible 
not to recognise that a man who succeeded so well 
must be, as his name indicated, the "favourite of 
lahveh " ? 

What above all is extraordinary in this run of good 
fortune is that his adversaries died just at the moment 
necessary for his welfare. Saul and Jonathan disap- 
peared at the same moment, and at the very hour 
that the adherents of David would have wished. On 
hearing of the bold advance made by the Philistines in 
the direction of Jezreel, Saul started for Gibeah with 
his son, and marched bravely to the north. The two 
armies met beyond Jezreel. The moral condition of 
Saul was deplorable. The effects of prolonged reli- 
gious error exhibited themselves in a pitiful manner. 
By dint of constantly seeking to discern the opinion 
of lahveh in the replies of the urim and thummim^ and 
by other frivolous means, he had become incapable of 
acting with decision. Samuel, who while he lived 
was always his dreaded prophet, had died at Eamah, 
without leaving any heir to his spiritual authority. 
Samuel had on several occasions found rivals who 
disputed with him the feeble mind of Saul ; neoro- 




DA VmS EA RLV LIFE. — DEA TH OF SA VL. 347 



manccrs, sorcerers, ventriloquists. These puerile illu- 
sions were in vogue among simple-minded people. 
The hollow and distant voice of the ventriloquist, 
appearing to come from the other world, was considered 
as the voice of the rcjahn, leading a miserable exist- 
ence under ground. Like all simple-minded people, 
dominated by vulgar illusions, the Israelites believed 
in ghosts, in voices, and in spirits. They attributed 
to certain persons, especially to women, the power of 
holding communication with the dead, and of making 
them speak. The nahis^ whose art was often not much 
more serious, were naturally jealous of the authors of 
these tricks. Samuel had them banished by Saul,* 
But the fact of prohibiting chimeras ia a proof that 
they are believed in, and merely lends them impor- 
tance in the minds of credulous people. 

Saul was with his army on the slopes of Gilboa, and 
nearly in the position formerly occupied by Gideon.*!" 
The Philistines were encamped opposite to him, at 
Shunem, on the ground afterwards occupied by 
Kleber in 1799. Saul was afraid and hesitated. He 
inquired of lahveh, who answered him neither by 
dreams nor by urim nor by the prophets. Samuel 
failed him. Samuel had been his good genius. Saul 
had been accustomed to act only on the advice of the 
seer of Eamah ; deprived of him he could no longer 
live. He wished to see him again, at no matter what 
price. It was then that the unfortunate king heard of 

* Firat Book of Samael, cb. xxviii. 
+ See p. 268. 



348 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

a witch who practised her art not far from there, at 
Endor. He disguised himself and went to Endor with 
two men. The witch at first suspected a snare. She 
asked Saul whom she should bring up. The king 
replied, " Samuel." " Why hast thou deceived me," 
said the woman, " for thou art Saul ? " "Be not afraid, 
what sawest thou?" "I saw gods ascending out of 
the earth." "What form is he of?" "An old man 
cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle." 

Saul did not doubt that this was Samuel. " Why," 
said the spirit, " hast thou disquieted me, to make me 
come up?" "I am sore distressed," said Saul, "for 
the Philistines make war on me ; God is departed from 
me and answerelh me no more, neither by prophets 
nor by dreams ; therefore I have called thee that thou 
may est make known unto me what I shall do." This 
story has been handed down to us by the theocratic 
narrator, who naturally makes Samuel speak in a 
manner corresponding to his own ideas concerning the 
downfall of Saul. 

Facts agreed only too well with these forebodings. 
The Philistines gained a complete victory. Three 
sons of Saul, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchishua, 
fell. Saul himself was pierced through with an arrow, 
and fearing to be abused by the enemy called upon 
his armour-bearer to run him through. The armour- 
bearer refused, and so Saul flung himself upon his 
sword. 

The mountains of Gilboa were strewn with the dead. 
Among the corpses found by the conquerors were 



DAVIIfS EARLY LIFE.— DEATH OF SAUL. 349 

those of Saul and his three sons. They cut oflf their 
heads, took their armour and set it up in the house of 
Astaroth, fastening their bodies to the wall of Beth- 
shan. But the men of Jabesh-Gilead, whom Saul 
had formerly saved, went by night and took away the 
bodies and brought them to Jabesh.* They burned 
them there, and buried their bones under a tree ; then 
they fasted for seven days. Afterwards David re- 
moved the remains from Jabesh to Selah, to the tomb 
of the family of the sons of Kish. 

David, who was at Ziklag, on hearing of the death 
of Saul and of Jonathan, made a great display of 
grief. The most ancient collection of songs contains 
one attributed to him, on the death of the two heroes 
— a song which opened with a vivid apostrophe to the 
mountain which witnessed the disaster : — 

The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places ; how are the 
mighty fallen. f 



* First Book of Samuel, ch. xxxi. ; compare with First Book 
of Chronicles, ch. x., inferior as regards text. 

t Second Book of Samuel, ch. i., v. 17 and following. 



B b2 



CHAPTER XVn. 



ISH-BOSHETH SUCCEEDS SAUL. — DAVID KING OF HEBBOX. 

In addition to Jonathan and hia two brothers, killed 
in the battle on the mouuttiinB of Gilboa, Saul had a 
fourth soDj named Ish-bosheth, upon whom the party- 
opposed to David kept their eyes fixed, especially as 
Jonathan bad almost abdicated, openly declaring (as 
the adherents of David asserted) that on the death of 
his father it was David who should reign. After the 
battle of Gilboa, Abner, who had probably passed the 
Jordan with the remains of the army,* proclaimed 
Ish-bosheth at Mnhanaim, in Gilead. Ish-boshetli 
was recognised by all Israel with the exception of the 
tribe of Judah. Then arose the distinction between 
the words Israel and Judah, f wliich eighty years after- 
wards may be said to have become, as it were, two 
hostile standards. Judah, as regards the nation of the 
Beni-Jacob, became a separate unity. The division, 
for a moment suppressed by the bravery of Saul, re- 



• First Book of Bamuel, eh. sixi., 
I Bee Beaoad Book of Samuel, ch. i 



9 ; First Book of Kings, 



J 



DAVID KING OF HEBRON. 



appeared ; bo little did unity enter into the spirit of 
the ancient populations still mainly engaged in tribal 
rivalitiea and in contests regarding chiefs ! 

"WTiile Ish-bosheth was being proclaimed beyond 
the Jordan, David did not move from his retreat at 
Ziklag. Though moui-ning for Saul, he was taking 
steps to succeed him. By his gifts he had won over 
nearly all the tribe of Judah. To give to one what 
has been stolen fiom another is a device which, so 
selfish is man, nearly always succeeds. Besides, 
David had formed with liis brigands the nucleus 
of a solid army. Three Bethlehemites, all three 
belonging to his family, had become in his school 
very bold soldiers ; they were Joab, Asahel, and 
Abishai, all three sons of Zeruiah, the sister or sister- 
in-law of David. The brigands of Ziklag determined 
on seizing Hebron, the chief town in those parts. 
David, according to custom, consulted the ephod of 
Abiathar. He asked, " Shall I go up into any of the 
cities of Judah?" lahveh replied, "Go up." And 
David asked again, "Whither shall I go up?" and he 
said, "To Hebron." So David went up thither with 
his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, and his band, 
and they encamped in the neighbourhood of Hebron. 
The tribe of Judah joined them, and David was unani- 
mously proclaimed King of Judah (about 1050 u.c.J. 
He was then thirty yeare of age. 

Henceforwards his views extended to the whole of 
Israel. He announced his election as Eing of Judah. 
to the different cities, in particular to Jabesh-Gilead, 



35> SISTOXy OF THE PEOPLEOFl 

which he thanked for the manner in which it had 
buried the ashes of Saul. He behaved in all respeots 
as tlic heir and partner of Saul, making it plain 
that he had at heart the interests of all Israel.* 
To the bravery, the flexibility, the talent, which he 
had exhibited up to then, he was about to join the 
skill of the consummate politician, the subtleties of the 
most refined casuist, the doubtful art of taking advan- 
tage of every crime without ever directly committing 
one. 

The gratitude which he owed to the family of Saul 
did not stand much in his way. lie contented himself 
with sjjcaking with conipunction of Saul and Jonathan ; 
ho did not consider that ho owed anything to Ish- 
bosheth. This latter appears to have been a man of 
very limited parts, who was governed by Abner. From 
Mahanaim, Abner took him to the country of Benja- 
min, where the house of Saul was deeply rooted. The 
first encounter between Itis adherents and those of 
David took place at Gibeon. Joab and Abner, the 
chiefs of the two armies, met on cither side of the 
reservoir, which is still visible. They began by a 
combat of twelve against twelve ; then a battle took 
place which ended in favour of David. 

The three sons of Zeruiah performed prodigies of 
valour that day. Asahel, who was a swift nmner, 
determined to kill Abner. It was Abner who killed 
him, but uot without regret, for he knew that his 
blood would stand between him and Joab. Joab and 



' Second Book of Samnol, ch. U., v. 5 and followbg. 



I 



DAVJD KING OF HEBRON. 

Abishai pursued Abner in the direction of the Jordan, 
but the Benjamites retired in good order, and formed 
up again in battle array on the top of a hill. Negotia- 
tions were opened. The men of Abner succeeded in 
recrossing the Jordan and in reaching Mahanaim. Joab 
and his army marched all night, and came to Hebron. 
Aeahel was buried in the tomb of his family at Beth- 
lehem. 

This war of skii-mishes between the two kingdoms 
continued for a long time. The power of David in- 
creased day by day, while that of Isb-bosheth dimi- 
nished. A harem quarrel sowed dissension between 
Ish-bosheth and Abner. The latter began to find that 
there was much to say in faTOur of having a single 
king from Dan to Beersheba. Concessions were made 
on both sides. David insisted as a preliminary con- 
dition that his wife, Mikal, the daughter of Saul, 
should he restored to him. This was accorded, in 
spite of the remonstrances of her new husband. Abner 
now laboured with a will at the reconciliation of the 
two parties. Nearly all the generals of Ish-bosheth 
were won over. Abner camo to Hebron with twenty 
men. Da\'id received bim with apparent cordiality. 
Abner took upon himself the task of effecting a prompt 
I>aeifioation. 

They had not taken into account the honour of 
Joab, absolutely pledged according to Hebrew-Arab 
ideas to avenge the death of Asahel. Joab was 
absent from Hebron on a raid when Abner came. On 
his arrival he learned that Abner was leisurely 



35+ BISTORV OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 



returning to tlie land of Benjamin. He reproached 
David for having allowed snch a man to escape, 
took means to induce Abner to return to Hebron, 
and drew him aside between two gates and slevj 
him. 

David protested that he was not responsible for thai 
death of Abner, of which Joab alone was guilty ; and 
he cursed Joab in a most terrible manner, knowing 
that his malediction would have no effect. He made 
his people go into mourning, and ho buried Abner in 
pomp at Hebron. He himself followed the bier and 
wept aloud on the tomb, and he composed an elegy 
for Abner as he had composed one for Jonathan. 
Only one verse has been preserved, which appears to 
imply.a little irony: "Died Abner as u fool dieth? 
Thy hands were not bound nor thy feet put into 
fetters. As a man falleth before wicked men so 
fellest thou."* 

David pretended to be inconsolable. It was necej 
sary to force him to take food. Some persons maj^ 
find it strange that in spite of his despair he left Joab 
unpunished. David made the remark that although 
he was king he had no great power and that these 
men (the sons of Zeruiah) were stronger than he was, 
and he called upon lahveh to chastise them. The 
people believed, or protended to believe, in his sin- 
cerity, and entii-ely approved of his conduct. In 
reality, he reaped the fruit of the assassination. Ab- 
ner would have greatly hampered his policy, and 
* gecDad Book of Samuel, cb. iii., v. S3 and following. 



DAV7D KING OF HEBRON. 355 

moreover the death of that chief was a severe blow to 
the party of Ish-bosheth. 

That unfortunate sovereign was abandoned by 
every one at Mahanaim. He was assassinated in his 
bed by two Benjamites, who carried his head to 
Hebron. David, aa usual, expressed his indignation, 
and ordered that the hands and feet of the assassins 
should be cut off and that they should be crucified 
near the poo! of Hebron. The head of Ish-bosheth 
was put in the tomb of Abner. His unstable reign 
had lasted about two years. 

Thanks to this second murder, the responsibility 
for which David warmly repudiated, the monarchy 
of Israel was definitively established. The son of 
Jesse had sueceeded ; his throne was founded for 
five hundred years. All the tribes came to Hebron 
and tendered their submission, saying, " Behold, we 
are thy bone and thy flesh. In time past, when Saul 
was king, thou Icddest Israel to battle. It was to 
thee that lahvch said, Thou shalt feed my people 
Israel and shalt be a prince over Israel." The league 
was concluded between them ; David was anointed 
with oil, and from that moment became inviolable and 



L 



Thus what neither Ephraim, nor GUead, nor 
Benjamin had been able to do, Judah fully realised. 
Hebron became the capital of Israel, and David con- 
tinued to reside there for five years and a half. Hia 
family began to establish themselves there. He con- 
tracted alliances, in particular with Talmai, king of 



356 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

Geser,* whose daughter, Maaka, he married. Ahinoam 
gave birth to his eldest son, Amnon ; Abigail gave 
birth to Kileab (or Delaia);f Maaka gave birth to 
Absolom; Haggit gave birth to Adoniah; Abital 
gave birth to Sefatiah ; Eglon gave birth to Itream. 

David had no longer any rival. Of the family of 
Saul there remained but one child who was a cripple, 
Merribaal, J the son of Jonathan. He was five years 
old when the news of the death of Saul and of 
Jonathan arrived. The slave to whom he had been 
confided fled with so much haste that she allowed him 
to fall, and this made him lame in both legs.§ We 
shall see amid what vicissitudes the agitated existence 
of this unfortunate youth was passed. 

* No doubt Geser in the south-west desert. Joshua, ch. xiii., 
V. 2 ; First Book of Samuel, ch. xxvii., v. 8. 

t Name altered. 

\ Or Mephibaal, But there is no theophoiic name in Miph or 
Miphi, Compare First Book of Chronicles, ch. viii., v. 84. See 
above, p. 169. 

§ First Book of Samuel, ch. iv., v. 4. 




CHAPTER XVIII. 



DATID KINO OF JERUSALEM. 



Hebron waa a Hittite city, the centre of an ancient 
civilisation, which to some extent had been inlierited 
by the tribe of Judnh.* It was undoubtedly the 
capital of Judah, a city of the highest religious cha- 
racter, full of recollections and traditions. It could 
boast of fine public buildings, good water, and a Tast 
and well-kept pool. The unification of Israel had just 
been accomplished there. It was only natural that 
Hebron should become the capital of the now kingdom. 
Though at a considerable distance from the tribes of 
the north, its situation was not an undesirable one. 
Paris is not in the centre of Prance, nor is Berlin in 
the centre of unified Germany. 

It is not easy to say what induced David to leave 
a city which had such ancient and evident claims for 
a hamlet like Jebus, which did not yet belong to him. 
It is probable that he found Hebron too exclusively 
Judahite. It was necessary not to wound the suscep- 
tibilities of the various tribes, more particularly those 
of Benjamin. Better a neutral city without any past. 



* Hittitos were etill to 1: 
Book of Samuel, xivL, t. 6. 



I found in the time of David. First 



358 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

This, no doubt, it was which hindered David from 
dreaming of Bethlehem as the capital of his country. 
The hill occupied by the Jebusites was just on the 
limits of Judah and of Benjamin, and was close to 
Bethlehem. 

The position was very advantageous. A small spring 
within the walls allowed it to stand a siege.* A great 
capital would certainly have been hampered on such 
a site ; but great cities were neither to the taste nor 
among the habits of these tribes. They preferred 
citadels easy of defence. The Jerusalem of the 
Jebusites fulfilled these conditions. The Jebusites 
pretended that their city was impregnable. They said 
to David, ^^ Thou shalt not come in hither. The blind 
and the lame will suffice to defeat thee." After that 
people were accustomed, by way of fun, to call the 
Jebusites the lame and the blind. And it was a pro- 
verb at Jerusalem, " The blind and the lame shall not 
come into the house." f 

The Jebusite city was composed of the fortress of 
Sion, which must have been situated where the mosque 
of El AkasaJ now stands, and of a lower town (Ophel) 

* Now called the Well of the Virgin. 

t Second Book of Samuel, ch. v., v. 8. I read ]1>S instead of 
niD!?. Acts, ch. iii., v. 2 ; John, ch. ix., v. 1. 

I The true position of Sion has heen definitively fixed on the 
eastern hill of Jerusalem hy the works of Messrs. Schick, Guthe, 
and KlaiheK See the Zeitschnft der deutscheii Palastina- Verein, 
t. iii., iv., V. (1880, 1881, 1882). The pretended Mount Moriah 
should he eliminated from a serious topography of Jerusalem. The 
name of Mount Moriah is symholic, and it is hy a supposition without 
value that the author of the Chronicles (Second Book of Chronicles, 



DAVID'^KTNG of JERUSALEM. 

which runs down from there to the well which they 
called GihoH. David took the fortress of Sion, and 
gave the greater portion of the neighhouring lands to 
Joab,* and probably left the lower town to the Jebu- 
aite8.+ That population, reduced to an inferior situa- 
tion, lost all energy, thanks to the new Israelitish 
influx, and played no important part in the history of 
Jerusalem. 

David rebuilt the upper town of Sion, the citadel 
or millo, and all the neighbouring quarters. This is 
what they called the city of David. The money 
which David had gained with his bands of Adullam 
and Zitlag aUowod him to undertake important con- 
structions. Tyi-e was then the centre of civilisation in 
southern Syria. The arts, especially architecture, 
were highly developed there. This Syrian, or, it may 
rather be said, this Phojnician art, was Egyptian art 
modified according to the materials of the coast of 
Syria. Syria has neither marble nor granite to be 
compared with that of Egypt, but the timber furnished 
by Lebanon was the finest in the world. From Tyre 
to Jerusalem came a regular ai-my of architecta, stone- 
cutters, carpenters, and wood-carvers, as well as loads 
of materials such as Judah did not produce, especially 

ch. iii., V. 1) identifies this imaginary place with the hill where 
Solomon built a temple. The name of Moriah is not mentionod in 
the really historical books. 

''' First Book of ChroaicIeB, ch. xi., v. 6, 6, passage of little 
valne Euroly and in contradiction with Second Book of Samuel, ch. 
, but which mast be founded upon some tradition respecting 
Joab. 

t Judges, ch. i., v. 21 ; Zechariob, cb. ix. (verj' old), v, 7. 



6o HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

cedar. The Tyrian architects built David a palace 
near the Millo, in the upper town of Sion, near the 
south-east angle of the present Haram. Art, properly 
so called, had up to that time been unknown in those 
countries. The prestige acquired by David was 
extraordinary. The land of Canaan had never enjoyed 
anything like so much splendour and power. 

As for Israel, David gave it what it had quite 
lacked up to that day, a capital. There will be 
schisms and protests ; it will take some time for this 
capital to be loved and adopted by all Israel. But the 
comer-stone is laid, and, as all the sympathies and 
antipathies of Israel have been shared by the whole 
world, Jerusalem will one day be the beloved capital 
of humanity. This little hill of Sion will become the 
magnetic pole of the love and poetry of the religious 
world. Who accomplished this ? It was David. 
David in reality created Jerusalem. Out of an ancient 
citadel, which remained standing as a memorial of an 
inferior order of things, he made a capital, feeble at 
first, but which was soon to occupy an important 
place in the history of humanity. Gloriosa dicta sunt 
de te, civitas Dei. For centuries the world will dis- 
pute the possession of Jerusalem. An irresistible 
attraction will draw thither people of various races. 
This rocky hill, without a horizon, without trees, 
almost without water, will cause hearts to leap with 
joy thousands of miles away. Every one will exclaim 
with the pious Israelite, ^^Lcetaitis sum in his quce 
dicta sunt mihi : In damum Domini ibimus.^^ 



Every aggrandiaement on tho part of Israel waa an 
aggrandisement on tho part of lahveh. lalivehiam, 
up to that time so Ul organised, is now to have a 
metropolis and soon a temple. Not for another four 
hundred years will this metropolis become exclusive 
among all other places of worship ; but the spot is 
fixed upon. Among ao many other hills which lahveh 
might have preferred, the choice is made.* The 
religious battle-field is marked out. 

David was the unconscious agent of these great 
humanitarian designa. Few people appear to have 
been less religious : few of the adorers of lahveh had 
less understanding of the sentiment which was destined 
to uphold lahvehism — justice. David was lahvehist, 
as Mesa, that king of Moab whose confession is still 
extant, was Camosist. lahveh was his tutelary deity, 
and lahveh was a god who caused his favourites to 
prosper. f Besides, lahveh was very useful ; he apoke 
valuable oracles through the ephod of Abiathar. This 
was all, for David and his companions had no aversion 
to Baal.if David had no more idea than had Gideon, 
Abimeleeh, and Jephthah what the religion of lahveh 
would become in the hands of the great prophets of 
the eighth century. 

But he waa the founder of Jerusalem and the father 

* Pealm Ixviii., t. 16 and following. 

t First Book of Samuel, ch. xviii., t. 14. 

X One of the sons of David vna callei Indifferently EUada or 
EaaliarUi, Second Book of Samuel, cb. v., t. 16; First Book of 
ChrouiuleB, cb. xiv., v. 7. 



362 HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. 

of a dynasty intimately associated with the work of 
Israel. That marked him out as a subject for future 
legends. One never can handle with impunity, even 
indirectly, those great problems which are being 
worked out in the hidden depths of humanity. 

We shall witness these transformations century 
after century . We shall find the outlaw of AduUam 
and of Ziklag assuming little by little the airs of a 
saint, becoming the author of the Psalms, the sacred 
chorlge^^ the type of the future Saviour. Jesus will 
be called the Son of David! The evangelical bio- 
graphy will be distorted in a number of instances, in 
order to make the life of the Messiah reproduce the 
features of that of David ! Pious souls delighting 
over the sentiments so full of resignation and tender 
melancholy contained in the finest books of the 
liturgy will fancy themselves in communion with 
this bandit ; humanity will believe in a future state 
on the testimony of David, who never believed in it 
himself, and of the Sibyl, who never existed. Teste 
David cum Sibylla ! divine comedy ! 

\* The chorege, among the Greeks, was the person who found 
money for spectacles. — Note by Translatob.] 



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POOR TRAVELLER, BOOTS AT THE HOLLY-TREE 
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THE BATTLE OF LIFE. A Love Story. 

THE HAUNTED MAN AND THE GHOST'S STORY. 



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A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and THE HAUNTED MAN. 

By GkARLES Dickens. Illustrated 

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THE CHIMES: A Goblin Story, and THE CRICKET 

ON THE HEARTH. Illustrated. 

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THE BATTLE OE LIFE: A Love Story, HUNTED 

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